Advocates push for open-space bond
In 2004, voters in the Snyderville Basin approved a $10 million bond to preserve open space in Summit County.
With that money spent, open-space advocates say another bond should be put before voters this year, even as many people in Summit County are coping with a recession. They are trying to convince the Summit County Council to place a bond measure on the November ballot.
Household budgets are tight and some open-space supporters fear voters would reject the bond due to belt-tightening.
"What is it that drives you now to propose a bond in the first place?" Summit County Councilwoman Claudia McMullin asked members of the Basin Open Space Advisory Committee.
The proposed bond was discussed at a County Council meeting Wednesday in Coalville. Officials in Summit County formed the Basin Open Space Advisory Committee about six years ago. The panel was charged with recommending how to spend proceeds from the first open-space bond.
BOSAC member Max Greenhalgh said it makes sense in a recession to purchase land if you can afford it.
"It’s probably the best opportunity to buy property that you will have," Greenhalgh told the Summit County Commission. "There seems to be some opportunities and we do believe there are some specific projects that are on the radar screen."
He did not provide details about land the committee is eyeing.
Under the proposed bond, most of the money would be used for buying open space. The rest would go toward developing trails on the West Side of Summit County.
There is no money available for the Basin Recreation District to build any more trails, Basin Recreation District spokeswoman Bonnie Park said.
"Lacking any bond money, we have nothing to help with that," Park said. "We’ve got a really good plan defined right now on the trail system we are proposing."
An amount for the bond has not been proposed.
"We’re out of money and BOSAC is out of money as well," said Rena Jordan, director of the Basin Recreation District.
Basin Recreation would float the bond and only those who live within the boundaries of the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District, generally people living on the West Side but outside the Park City limits, would likely vote and be taxed if the measure is approved.
Along with the Basin open-space bond, next year some on the West Side of Summit County could be hit with tax increases from City Hall and the Park City School District.
Summit County Councilman John Hanrahan said County Courthouse officials do not expect to vote to increase taxes this year.
"I think it’s great, the idea of a trails and open-space bond," McMullin said. "My only concern is that the taxpayer responds to it."
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