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County budgets golf study

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

A public golf course in eastern Summit County could jumpstart economic growth in a rural area poised on the brink of staggering development possibilities.

Jack Nicklaus, however, won’t be designing the links.

The $30,000 Summit County has budgeted for a golf feasibility study wouldn’t cover the golf legend’s travel costs, jokes Summit County auditor Matt Leavitt who claims the Golden Bear’s course feasibility studies run $1.5 million.

"Most of the people that I’ve got on my list, out of eight, there’s only one that is in Utah," Leavitt said. "That’s what we’re trying to do is keep it as local as possible."

A golf course in eastern Summit County could allow eastsiders to benefit from tax dollars usually spent promoting recreation opportunities in Park City and the Snyderville Basin, Leavitt explained.

"Nearly all of it gets spent over on the West Side," he added.

But the cost for the 18-hole course is pegged at $10 million.

"If you want to generate some economic development on the eastern side of the county, you do that," Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer suggested.

The feasibility study conducted by an outside firm must identify different locations for the course and whether it’s economically viable on the East Side, Leavitt said.

"It’s been tossed around for quite a while," he said, adding, "It would be good for whatever community it’s located in."

Last week the County Commission also indicated that the Summit County Health Department could move next year from the Sheldon Richins Building to a new facility near an Intermountain Health Care hospital planned at Quinn’s Junction.

"IHC hasn’t closed on the property yet and I thought that was going to happen two or three weeks ago," Summit County Health Department Director Steve Jenkins said.

Commissioners are debating moving the health department headquarters from Coalville to the Snyderville Basin during an ongoing discussion about their long-range facilities strategy.

"[Coalville] is the county seat," objected County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme insisting the health department should stay in North Summit. "This is where we come to get most of our services."

Meanwhile, with the population in western Summit County burgeoning, county officials should consider constructing a cemetery in the Snyderville Basin, Richer said.

"All of the other cemeteries in the county are cemetery districts," Leavitt countered. "So this begs the question of, where are we going and are we taking the right approach?"

Also, a bus garage is needed in Snyderville for the public transit system in western Summit County to continue to grow, Richer insists.

"No bus barn, no more buses. No more buses, no more routes," he said.

But remodeling the Summit County Justice Center at Silver Creek is one of the most expensive projects on the commissioners’ wish list.

"[Third District Court] is saying they are going to need four courtrooms over the next 25 years," Leavitt said.

The $18-million expansion project could also include new administrative offices and upgrades to the Summit County Jail.

County officials plan to issue bonds to help fund these improvements.

"If we’re going to float $30 million in [general obligation] bonds, identify the projects that it’s going to fund," County Auditor Blake Frazier advised the commission.


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