Park City contaminated soils efforts lead to verbal sparring with Summit County official
The tensions about repository concept continue with critics lining up at City Hall event
A member of the Summit County Council on Tuesday night confronted Park City officials as tensions continued regarding a City Hall concept to build a facility to store materials containing silver mining-era contaminants along the S.R. 248 entryway, leading to brief but telling verbal sparring during an important event centered on the project.
County Councilor Roger Armstrong, who appeared as a private citizen of Park City rather than as a County Courthouse representative, provided some of the most noteworthy input during the informational event, organized by City Hall and held at the Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library. Armstrong has emerged as a high-profile critic of the efforts to build a facility known as a repository and was one of a series of critics who spoke on Tuesday.
Armstrong questioned City Hall’s desire to store the contaminated soils locally instead of transporting them to a facility in Tooele County, saying moving them to that location is a safer option. He contended City Hall would tell a private developer to move contaminated soils there.
Armstrong told Park City Councilor Steve Joyce, who was one of the panelists, not to interrupt his comments and spoke similarly when he addressed David Everitt, a deputy Park City manager heavily involved in the discussions about the repository concept.
“Hold on, David,” Armstrong forcefully told the deputy city manager at one point.
Joyce intervened, asking Armstrong whether he would tolerate that sort of exchange at a meeting of the County Council.
“I wouldn’t cut somebody off at one of my County Council meetings,” Armstrong said in response to Joyce.
Armstrong addressed a series of issues, including unknowns regarding a budget and what he sees as the link between an arts and culture district City Hall plans to develop and the repository concept. The land proposed for the arts and culture district is expected to contain a significant amount of material containing contaminants that would be moved to a repository. Armstrong also asserted that not enough information about potential health impacts has been discussed. He received applause from the crowd during his comments.
Armstrong has been especially displeased with the concept. His appearance on Tuesday followed written comments in the spring challenging the repository. It is unusual for a member of the County Council to take such an aggressive stand regarding a City Hall matter.
City Hall is discussing whether to build a repository on municipal land at the intersection of S.R. 248 and Richardson Flat Road. Materials containing contaminants like lead and arsenic would be stored there. The contaminants are part of the legacy of Park City’s historic silver-mining industry, which drove the economy from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. The City Hall permit application for the repository envisions a facility that could ultimately hold up to 140,000 cubic yards of materials.
There are broad community concerns about issues like the impacts on public health and the environment. The issue in the spring abruptly moved to the forefront of the community discussion after months of little chatter about the topic. The event on Tuesday, which drew approximately 60 people, likely offered a preview of additional rounds of talks that are expected shortly.
Some of the other issues covered on Tuesday included:
• Rich Wyman arguing the public has not had enough time to learn about the repository and saying the process should be slower.
• Beverly Hurwitz telling the crowd City Hall spends lots of money on acquiring open space but is now attempting to save funds with the repository concept.
• former Mayor Dana Williams outlining a hope for a regional conversation that involves the EPA.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
The field in the Park City Council primary election briefly addressed the Black Lives Matter mural that was put on Main Street in 2020, an indication there continues to be simmering emotions about the polarizing work and the process that led to the creation of the mural.