Utah Open Lands short $1 million-plus for Park City deal as deadline nears
Utah Open Lands must raise more than $1 million by the end of June to complete a conservation agreement in Thaynes Canyon, a deal that already has the backing of City Hall and numerous others who have contributed but one that remains under threat of collapsing even with the broad support.
The not-for-profit organization in June of 2018 reached a $6 million agreement with two branches of the Armstrong family involving the 19-acre Snow Ranch Pasture, off Thaynes Canyon Drive and Three Kings Drive. The land is close to the Park City Golf Club.
The sides negotiated a deal to place a conservation easement on the land. Under such an easement, the land remains with the owner, but the development rights are stripped off the acreage in perpetuity.
Park City voters in November approved up to $3 million for the Snow Ranch Pasture efforts as part of a $48 million ballot measure that provided the bulk of the funding for the acquisition of the Treasure land overlooking Old Town in a separate conservation deal. The successful ballot measure left Utah Open Lands to raise the remaining $3 million for Snow Ranch Pasture.
Utah Open Lands had an original deadline of Dec. 20 to raise the funds. The deadline was extended twice and now is set on June 30. Utah Open Lands does not anticipate another extension should the funds not be raised.
Utah Open Lands said this week another approximately $1.3 million must be raised by the June 30 deadline.
“We need contributions from everybody who is willing to give,” said Wendy Fisher, the executive director of Utah Open Lands.
Fisher said the organization has raised funds from a broad list of Park City residents as well as from Utahns outside the community. She said more than $1.1 million has been raised from foundations. Utah Open Lands also submitted seven applications for funding from other, unspecified foundations. Four of the foundations rejected the requests while Utah Open Lands is awaiting decisions from the other three. She said the organization raised the $10,000 needed to match a separate challenge grant within two days.
“It’s really going to come down to a community effort,” she said.
Utah Open Lands and Park City officials want to protect Snow Ranch Pasture for the scenic views toward Park City Mountain Resort and the wildlife habitat. A herd of elk and sandhill cranes have long been seen there. The zoning underlying most of the Snow Ranch Pasture land would allow three lots on each acre. Utah Open Lands has calculated up to 48 houses are possible on the acreage should the conservation agreement not be finalized.
The not-for-profit organization has said the conservation easement is valued at more than $16 million and the two branches of the Armstrong family have contributed a significant amount to the efforts by pricing the agreement at $6 million.
Fisher has said for months Utah Open Lands encountered difficulty in the fundraising as some people in Park City were inaccurately under the impression the monies were secured as part of the successful $48 million ballot measure in November.
“The strategy is really raise people’s awareness that this is not saved,” she said. “Every dollar is going to count on this one.”
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