More Dogs on Main Street
Last week’s announcement that the city and county open-space committees have worked a deal to buy part of the LDS Church land on SR 224 and 320 acres in Round Valley is great news. City Council and County Commissioners have been working long and hard on that deal for a couple of years. It looked like they got aced out of it by a sale to the Boyer Company. But in the current world of real estate, Boyer apparently had second thoughts and was willing to cut its exposure by $25 million, and part of the property will go to the city and county as open space.
There’s lots of credit to go around on this one, including current and past elected officials, and going all the way back to when Brad Olch was mayor and really started the open-space push. There have been volunteer citizen committees involved. Of course, the people who voted for the open-space bond issues through the years deserve credit, too. It’s a long-term vision for a community, and it’s working.
The Round Valley property is really functional open space, and will allow expansion of trails and recreation opportunities in that area. The land on SR 224 is important, but it’s too late to really be part of a belt of green space along the highway corridor. The 224 corridor is pretty well built out or, in the case of The Canyons, approvals for urban development are in place. So the couple of open-space parcels this one and the Miss Billie’s Kids’ Campus property will be gaps in the suburban sprawl, but not big swaths of open space. They’re bigger than vacant lots, but in a perfect world they would have been contiguous to other purchases. But the open space people have bought what they could buy from willing sellers, and so there isn’t a continuous swath.
Both of the 224 purchases, however, will help reduce the growth in traffic on that already crowded highway. The LDS Church/Boyer deal will eliminate 800 future houses, which translates to about 3,200 people, at least one elementary school, and a couple of thousand vehicle trips per day. That’s the good news. The bad news is that some portion of that growth will get displaced to the east side, and Kamas may get paved over sooner than it might have.
And then there is the kind of dicey problem of Boyer Company being in the process of negotiating the approval for its proposed research office park on the remaining property at the same time it is closing the open-space deal. I’d recommend tabling any action on the development proposal until the land sale is closed so there isn’t a real or implied leverage between the two. The research park and the housing/schools/ traffic impacts sounds pretty substantial. The review there needs to be rigorous, thorough, and not impeded by express or implied promises out of the open-space deal. We’ve got kind of the same discomfort with the Walmart expansion coupled with the additional right-of-way needed for the road work out there.
The presidential campaign story of the week is that the Republican National Committee has spent $150,000 on clothes for Sarah Palin. That works out to $18,000 a week for the few weeks she has been on the national stage. I’ve got to admit she looks great. I don’t know if she showed up for the job interview in a flannel shirt, cammo cargo pants, and mukluks (or worse, one of those UDOT orange pantsuits Hillary wore), but they’ve got her dressed to the nines now. They are relying on President Bush’s courageous policy that in times of grave national crisis, we should all go shopping. $18,000 a week is about a half a year’s take for Joe the unlicensed plumber. It makes John Edwards’ $400 haircuts look like a session with the Flowbee.
It sends a typical mixed message. At the same time the Republicans are more or less admitting that their VP candidate is unable to dress herself, they steadfastly insist that she is ready to take over as president on a moment’s notice. Anyway, she is now being described as "Caribou Barbie." You know what they say: Accessories make the VP. Meanwhile, candidates in close Congressional races are having their funding from GOP headquarters cut to help pay for Palin’s costume. So it’s not all bad.
Did you ever see the movie "Being There?" It was one of Peter Sellers’ last, and maybe his best. It’s a little frightening to watch in the heart of election season, but well worth it. It seems very appropriate again this election season.
I understand that the resorts are having a little difficulty getting visas for the usual South American college student work force this year. Homeland Security is taking a long time to process requests, and it doesn’t do much good if your lift operators show up in March. The resort management is creative. Rumor has it that they are recruiting heavily on Wall Street. Former Lehman Brothers bond traders, who were making high-six-figure salaries, will be bumping chairs and bussing tables this winter. Veterans of Merrill Lynch who used to trade credit-default swaps (without the slightest idea what a credit-default swap was) will be making snow this winter. The mortgage-loan department from Washington Mutual will be cleaning condos, and the upper management of Wachovia Bank will be driving buses. One can only hope that there are 435 unemployed members of the House of Representatives available for parking-lot duty. The big question is whether there will be any passengers.
It’s going to be an interesting season.
Tom Clyde served as Park City attorney in the 1980s and is the author of "More Dogs On Main Street." He has been a columnist at The Park Record for more than 20 years.
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.