Park City readies for a potentially highly charged contaminated soils hearing
Meeting could involve impassioned testimony
Park City leaders on Thursday are scheduled to hold what is expected to be a highly charged hearing about a concept to develop a facility along the S.R. 248 entryway to store soils containing contaminants from the silver-mining era, an idea that has drawn widespread, intense opposition in recent months even as City Hall has attempted to explain the underlying reasoning.
The input to officials in recent months, some of it sharp, has been tilted heavily toward the opposition. The meeting on Thursday, though, involves a formal public hearing that is seen as a key opportunity to address Mayor Andy Beerman and the Park City Council at a moment when they appear to be preparing to provide direction about the concept.
The concept calls for the construction of a facility known as a repository on municipal land located at the S.R. 248-Richardson Flat Road intersection. Officials want to store materials containing lead, arsenic and other contaminants at the location. The repository would eventually have space for up to 140,000 cubic-yards of material with officials projecting a timeline of between five and 15 years to fill the facility. The construction cost is estimated at $2.7 million.
City Hall would use the repository to store soils expected to be unearthed during the construction of a planned arts and culture district along Bonanza Drive and Kearns Boulevard as well as during the construction of municipal housing projects. The repository would also be made available to private homeowners for noncommercial purposes.
Park City was founded as a silver-mining camp in the 19th century and the industry drove the economy until the middle of the 20th century. The industry left a legacy of contaminated land. City Hall previously used a repository at Richardson Flat, but it has not been available since 2010. That repository dates to the mining era and lacks a protective lining. The materials unearthed since 2010 have been taken to a facility in Tooele County.
City Hall argues developing a repository along S.R. 248 would save money since the municipal government would no longer need to transport the materials to the Tooele County facility. Officials also say a local repository would allow Park City to take responsibility for the soils rather than burdening another community.
Critics, though, are displeased with the prospects of a repository at the proposed location. They point to concerns about storing contaminated soils in a location close to recreation land, housing and public buildings.
A City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the meeting on Thursday outlines a series of options for the elected officials to consider. The options include declining to proceed with the repository, moving ahead with the repository as it is currently proposed or moving forward with a scaled-back size and tightened operational timeline. Another option involves conducting more research and continuing the public-information efforts, something that could take another three to six months.
The discussion on Thursday is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. at the Marsac Building while the hearing is slated to begin at 6 p.m. The meeting will also be available online. More information is available at parkcity.org.
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