Park City mayor says widespread confusion remains about contaminated soils facility
He acknowledges there is much discussion still needed as City Hall considers the concept
Mayor Andy Beerman on Thursday indicated important decisions regarding City Hall’s concept to build a facility to store soils with contaminants dating from the silver-mining era could be delayed as leaders continue to consider the idea and gather input.
Beerman made the comments at a Park City Council meeting that was held two days after the concept to build a facility known as a repository received heavy criticism during a City Hall-hosted event at the Park City Library.
The mayor and City Council were not scheduled to address the repository concept on Thursday, but Beerman nonetheless appeared to want to provide comments in a follow-up to the Tuesday event. He said the event at the library “was not an easy audience” and called the dialogue “an interesting discussion.”
“There are a lot of diverse opinions in the community. There are a lot of varying facts on this and perspectives, and I think we have a lot of work to do,” Beerman said.
City Hall is amid a public-information effort meant to explain the plan to build a repository. The municipal government set aside 60 days for the work, ending in the middle of July. The event at the library was designed to be one of the key elements of the effort. The mayor, though, on Thursday predicted the public-information work may not be completed on the anticipated timeline.
“I know we’ve told the community we’re going to take a 60-day pause, but I will be amazed at the end of those 60 days if we’re at a point where we can move forward with this,” Beerman said. “I think there are a lot of discussions we need to continue to have, a lot of people we need to bring into this.”
He said some Parkites are closely following the discussions while others are unclear regarding the talks about the repository.
“I would say, certainly, the activists are activated and a few neighborhoods are activated, but I think the general public’s probably more confused than ever, just because this bombardment of different opinions, and trying to sort out the facts,” Beerman said.
He urged patience as the discussions continue.
“I know it’s frustrating for us all. . . . We thought at the time, and I think we still feel, we’re trying to come up with good solutions for the community, but we need to make sure the community agrees with that,” he said.
Park City leaders are readying to decide whether to move ahead with the construction of a repository on City Hall-owned land at the S.R. 248-Richardson Flat Road intersection. Materials containing contaminants like lead and arsenic would be stored there. The contaminants are a legacy of Park City’s historic silver-mining industry.
There is widespread opposition to the repository concept, with the critics citing issues like the potential impacts on public health and the environment. Municipal officials contend the repository would be built with the necessary safety measures. City Hall wants to use a repository for soils excavated from municipal projects like a planned arts and culture district and housing developments. It would also be made available for use by private homeowners for noncommercial purposes.
City Hall has scheduled a virtual community panel discussion about the repository from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Monday. More information is available at: engageparkcity.org and http://www.parkcity.org.
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A member of the Park City Planning Commission for at least the second time in less than a year spoke publicly about a concept that would financially involve City Hall in a development proposal at Park City Mountain Resort. Planning Commissioner John Phillips did not address the concept in any depth during a lengthy meeting.