Utah Open Lands secures more time to protect Thaynes Canyon acreage
Utah Open Lands has secured another three months to raise the funds needed for a conservation agreement involving Snow Ranch Pasture, a tract of land in Thaynes Canyon that City Hall also wants protected from development.
Two branches of the Armstrong family on Monday granted an extension through June 30. The deadline had been Sunday. Utah Open Lands said early in the week the fundraising efforts were well short of the goal, necessitating the additional time.
The agreement is set at $6 million. City Hall has pledged up to $3 million of the overall cost and will use funds from a successful $48 million ballot measure that provided the bulk of the monies for the municipal government’s acquisition of the Treasure land for conservation purposes. The organization has raised approximately $1.5 million, leaving the efforts short by upward of $1.5 million.
Utah Open Lands says the land is valued at more than $16 million, meaning the two branches of the Armstrong family are subsidizing the agreement by upward of $10 million. Utah Open Lands is continuing the fundraising efforts focused on Snow Ranch Pasture, which encompasses 20 acres off Thaynes Canyon Drive close to the Park City Golf Club.
“The family’s always been willing to consider, if we’re making progress, (giving) us more time,” Wendy Fisher, the executive director of Utah Open Lands, said, adding, “The family’s been very supportive of it.”
Fisher said the timing of the extension through June 30 is opportune, explaining that grant possibilities begin in early April and some grant requests will not be decided until early June. She said Utah Open Lands grant requests totaling approximately $900,000 are pending with unspecified local, state and regional foundations. Individual contributions are sought alongside those from foundations.
Utah Open Lands, if successful, would secure a mechanism known as a conservation easement on the land. Under an easement, the land would remain with the owner, but the two branches of the Armstrong family would forego development in perpetuity. Utah Open Lands has said up to 48 houses are possible on the acreage if it is not protected from development. Supporters want the land set aside for its scenic value and wildlife habitat.
The extension until June 30 is the second time the date has been pushed back after an initial deadline of Dec. 15.
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Park City’s elected officials next week are scheduled to receive a briefing about the upcoming 2020 census. The census results are used for a variety of purposes, including funding formulas and crafting legislative and congressional districts boundaries.