Park City wants to control destiny with Bonanza Park acquisition
May 13, 2016
The Park City Council on Thursday night cast a unanimous vote in support of a $6 million acquisition of approximately half of The Yard in Bonanza Park, a deal that the elected officials praised as a means to move ahead with City Hall’s transportation and housing efforts.
The City Council vote was in favor of a real estate purchase contract. The acquisition’s closing is not expected to occur until Feb. 1. City Hall in that time plans to conduct detailed studies of the 2.29-acre piece of ground, which is located at 1251 Kearns Blvd. The land is behind The Boneyard Saloon & Kitchen. It borders the Recycling Center, a Rocky Mountain Power substation, Homestake Road and a storage-unit business. If City Hall has not terminated the contract by Nov. 1, the municipal government will surrender $60,000 in earnest money to the seller as it moves forward with the research.
The seller is a firm under the control of the Bonanza Park partnership consisting of Mark J. Fischer and John Paul Dejoria. The partnership once considered a major residential development at the site. The Yard had long been seen as one of the prime parcels as the partnership prepares for an ambitious redevelopment of a patchwork of Bonanza Park properties.
"I have heard nothing but support for this purchase," City Councilman Tim Henney said just before the vote.
Henney said the only way City Hall can achieve its goals is to "control our own destiny" by acquiring the parcel. He acknowledged the $6 million price tag, though.
Nann Worel, another City Councilor, said the vote on Thursday starts a public process focused on the potential of the site.
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"I think this is a really important first step," Worel said.
Mayor Jack Thomas inquired about a statement in a City Hall report drafted in anticipation of the meeting that described the prospects of a park-and-ride facility and parking garage for upward of 1,000 vehicles in Bonanza Park. Alfred Knotts, the transportation planning manager at City Hall, told the elected officials the actual number could be far less than 1,000.
Fischer briefly spoke on Thursday night, indicating the details of a municipal project will be crafted later.
The elected officials received a brief round of testimony prior to the vote, including one person from a nearby condominium complex raising questions and another person expressing support on behalf of a business owner.
Lee Whiting, a figure in the association representing the Claimjumper condominiums, questioned the rapid nature of the process and wanted the vote delayed to allow time for more research. The deal was not made public until Monday afternoon.
Whiting worried about noise and trash and said he did not want a project to bring down land values or impact the quality of life.
But a statement in support from Jesse Shetler, the owner of The Boneyard, was read to the elected officials. Shetler said in the statement he applauds the agreement to acquire the property. It will "be a catapult in the direction of tackling the parking problem" in the city, the statement said.
"I encourage this mayor, city council and city hall to take every step necessary and see this purchase through and build us more parking and transportation," the Shetler statement said.