Local leaders agree to form task force to examine partnerships
September 8, 2015
Representatives from local agencies convened at the Park City Library last week and agreed to form a joint task force comprised of leaders to explore how the agencies can better work together.
The joint quarterly meeting took place between representatives Park City Municipal, the Park City School District Board, Summit County and the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District.
The discussion focused on traffic mitigation, the use of recreation facilities, and the potential impacts the school district’s $56 million bond could have if it is approved by voters in November.
When the school district approved the bond’s language it opened the door for the district to partner with local agencies and governments. Officials agreed to form a special task force to explore how those partnerships will work. The first meeting will be held from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Park City School District office.
"The bond language says we would or could pick partnerships with agencies and other governments, city and county, if we have mutual interests that are for the benefit of all students," said Nancy Garrison, Park City School District Board member.
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A number of interlocal agreements already exist between the recreation district and Park City Municipal for the use and upkeep of the athletic fields. Officials reviewed those agreements to begin to understand how they may be affected by events such as the proposed Ecker Hill Middle School expansion.
"If there is construction at Ecker Hill, what does the agreement say about access to the fields? How do we make sure that our impact allows for the optimization of the interlocal agreement, while we are improving our facilities for students," Garrison said. "That is the priority because we all jointly want to continue to use these amazing recreation facilities."
The task force will examine the use of facilities and transportation mitigation in the context of the school district realignment.
"We have some transportation issues and we have some interests in figuring out how to manage those with the realignment and the new facilities to make sure we accommodate for whatever those impacts may be," said Roger Armstrong, Summit County Council member. "As things continue to grow over the next couple of decades, it will keep putting pressure on schools and present new challenges. I think that’s part of what they are trying to address and it’s a strange puzzle to figure out."
Financing a solution
The other component and overarching question is how to finance a solution to these issues "without breaking the bank in one of those jurisdictions," he said.
Armstrong said he appreciated the opportunity to sit down with all the stakeholders to understand and address the varying interests and responsibilities of each. He said it was beneficial to hear the school district explain its reasoning behind pushing the bond through.
"I was very pleased we were able to have those discussions and I think they will be very productive. If we can have everyone at the table trying to solve the problem, I believe we can make some headway," he said.
Rena Jordan, Basin Recreation director, said the district recognizes the need to be at the table to continue the long-standing relationships between the district, the county and the school. Jordan says those partnerships could even expand to include the South Summit School District as well.
"One of the important pieces that we talked about last Monday is the properties we acquired at Silver Creek that are not included in the Park City School District, so in the future it is likely that we will also work with the South Summit School district on how to best provide recreation facilities that help meet their students’ needs as well," Jordan said.
‘Rising tides float all boats’
Diane Foster, Park City Municipal city manager, said it is her philosophy that what benefits one agency typically benefits the other.
"Rising tides float all boats," Foster said. "The perspective of the city is we do benefit from a mutual cooperation between the county and the school and there may be areas where it makes sense for the city to look more seriously at that."
Foster’s pointed to the potential for a transportation partnership with the school district to examine traffic on State Road 248.
"I think one of the things that is safe to say is the city strongly believes this is an unprecedented opportunity to affect traffic on 248," Foster said. "We have been very involved and engaged, quite literally, for months on this and we have been going to meetings with the school board.
"Now we are taking the steps to define how this is all going to work," she said.
The City Council has voted and given staff direction to work with the school district on potential transportation and athletic facility partnerships, Foster said.
"They have provided a very positive response to staff to say, ‘Go figure out what makes sense,’" Foster said. "People need to know that these conversations are happening and that the perspective of the city is that we do benefit from cooperation with the county and the school district."