Park City leaders post $25,000 in own money for Bonanza Flats
Mayor, City Councilors issue challenge as fundraising efforts intensify
April 4, 2017
Park City's elected officials, the group that in 2016 launched the efforts to acquire Bonanza Flats for conservation purposes, have posted $25,000 of their own money as supporters of the land deal continue to attempt to close a multimillion-dollar gap by an early-summer deadline.
Mayor Jack Thomas and the five members of the Park City Council are among the high-profile individuals who have pledged to financially support the acquisition. A series of government entities like Summit County and public bodies in the Salt Lake Valley have also said they would provide funding. But the slate of elected officials in Park City were also the leaders who decided to put a measure on the ballot in the city in 2016, overwhelmingly securing $25 million from voters that will fund most of the $38 million acquisition price.
The amount donated by each of the individual elected officials toward the $25,000 was not released. The elected officials contributed based on their financial ability to do so.
The $25,000 from the mayor and City Councilors was posted as a matching grant. Donors desiring to put funds toward the match may give money to a coalition of not-for-profit organizations raising funds for the acquisition. The deadline for donations to match the elected officials' contribution is April 18.
"The community spoke clearly about the importance of preserving Bonanza Flats by voting for the bond and we've been inspired by the outpouring of support from community members willing to open their wallets above and beyond what they will pay through the bond," Nann Worel, a member of the City Council, said in a prepared statement released by two conservation groups assisting with the efforts.
The $25,000 does not represent a large percentage of the remaining $3 million needed by a June 15 deadline, but the supporters see the contribution as important since it would come from Park City's elected leadership.
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"I think this shows tremendous leadership and vision," said Wendy Fisher, the executive director of Utah Open Lands, adding that the contribution will sends a message to other leaders. "Everyone's pulling out the stops to get this done."
Fisher said there is "no question" the money will be raised to match the $25,000.
"It redoubles and galvanizes the effort," she said.
Bonanza Flats is a high-altitude tract of land covering 1,350 acres in Wasatch County just south of Park City. The land was historically held by United Park City Mines, the modern-day successor to the city's historic silver-mining industry and later came under the control of the Talisker corporate family. Lenders claimed the property in a broad foreclosure case against the Talisker corporate family. The land is now under the ownership of a firm called Redus, LLC. It is tied to Wells Fargo and Midtown Acquisitions, L.P., the lenders that brought. City Hall reached the $38 million deal with Redus, LLC.
Park City leaders and conservationists have for years coveted Bonanza Flats, saying the land offers recreation opportunities, wildlife habitat and protection for drinking-water sources. United Park City Mines once held plans for major development on Bonanza Flats, seen as a golf-and-ski project, and the land was a pivotal chip in the 1990s-era negotiations that led to the approval of what would become Empire Pass. Park City officials indicated there was a developer interested in acquiring Bonanza Flats for a high-end project if a conservation deal was not reached.
Anyone who wants to contribute toward matching the $25,000 posted by the elected officials may do so at websites of members of a coalition raising funds for Bonanza Flats. According to a release announcing the elected officials' contribution, the websites are: savebonanzaflat.org, wesaveland.org, utahopenlands.org, mountaintrails.org, wasatchbackcountryalliance.org, winterwildlands.org and saveourcanyons.org.
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