Park City contaminated soils talks linked to City Hall election in anonymous text message
The phone number, carrying a 435 area code, is disconnected or no longer in service
An anonymous text message was sent Monday afternoon linking the upcoming Park City election to a controversial concept by City Hall to build a facility along the S.R. 248 entryway to store soils containing contaminants dating to the community’s silver-mining era.
The text message was timed shortly before the campaign will formally begin and amid broad worries about the concept of a facility, known as a repository. It is a likely indication that the repository concept will be an election issue, at least at the outset of the campaign.
The text message includes a call for candidates and a statement to “Stop the landfill!”
“Consider serving beautiful Park City and your neighbors while preserving the environment,” the text message says.
The text message provides the June dates when candidates may file campaign paperwork with City Hall formalizing a bid for elected office. There is also a link to City Hall-posted online information about the mechanics of the campaign.
The mayor’s office and two Park City Council seats are on the ballot in November. Incumbent Mayor Andy Beerman and Nann Worel, who is a member of the City Council, have started campaigns for the mayor’s office while three people have indicated they will mount City Council campaigns. The filing period for campaign paperwork runs from June 1 until June 7.
The text message’s listed phone number carries a 435 area code, which covers Park City, surrounding Summit County and a large swath of rural Utah. The phone number on Tuesday morning was disconnected or no longer in service.
The prospects of Park City building a repository for soils storage received widespread attention in recent weeks after earlier talks about a project garnered little apparent public interest.
There is concern about City Hall developing a repository on municipal land located at the S.R. 248-Richardson Flat Road intersection. Soils containing contaminants like lead and arsenic would be moved to the facility. The contaminants date from Park City’s silver-mining era, which stretched for decades before the launch of the ski industry in the 1960s. There is public pushback regarding issues like the safety of the environment and potential impacts on recreation if a repository is built in the location.
Park City officials, though, contend that a local repository would reduce costs, cut vehicle emissions since trucks would not haul the materials to a facility in Tooele County and reduce the burden on that community.
It is not clear to what degree the repository concept will become a campaign issue. The person who crafted the text message seems to hope it will be an overriding issue. City Hall could make progress on the project prior to the key stretch of the campaign season in the fall, although the topic could also be heavily debated earlier if there are primary elections required in the mayoral and City Council contests. The campaign will likely stress issues like growth, traffic and the economy, topics that have been crucial to Park City political contests for decades.
The tunnel and aerial ideas along S.R. 248 would run into the tens of millions of dollars and, with near certainty, become controversial as Parkites weigh the traffic backups of today against the cost and significant re-imagining of the entryway that the ideas would produce.
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