Editorial: Time to act is now if residents are to save Osguthorpe Farm
February 19, 2018
A major deadline that could kill the push to save the Osguthorpe Farm is fast approaching.
According to the Summit Land Conservancy, the organization spearheading the initiative to preserve the 158-acre property on Old Ranch Road in the Snyderville Basin, residents have already contributed $2.3 million to the cause. But another $200,000 is needed by the end of the month for a $2.5 million down payment to keep the effort alive.
Reaching that goal would provide the conservancy with another year to raise the additional $3 million required to reach the $14.2 million price tag to obtain a conservation easement on the land. The organization has secured an $8.7 million federal grant that would make up the remainder of the cost.
There have been many vocal supporters of the initiative spreading their message in places like public meetings, social media feeds and The Park Record's opinion pages. And it seems that they've put their money where their mouth is — according to the conservancy, more than 300 residents have donated to the cause.
They contend, however, that there are still many people unaware that an attempt to preserve the farm is even underway. That's troubling, considering the time crunch the effort is up against. The time is now for anyone who values what the farm means to the Basin or understands the importance of ensuring our community remains tied to its roots to become educated and step up. If the conservancy can't raise the $200,000 by the end of the month, there likely won't be another chance.
If the endeavor fails, the organization says, the Osguthorpe property will be sold. Donors who contributed to the cause would get their money back, but housing or some other kind of development would eventually be erected on the flatland. That would be a shame given that the farm, which has been dubbed the "Green Heart" of the Basin, is one of the most visible reminders of the area's agricultural heritage.
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It should be acknowledged that contributing to another open space conservation effort right now is a big ask. The push to preserve the farm comes on the heels of last year's all-out blitz to save Bonanza Flat and as Park City is preparing to ask residents within city limits to approve a $50-plus million bond to purchase the Treasure land overlooking Old Town.
It's understandable if some residents, particularly those who don't live near the farm, are hesitant to open their pocketbooks. But in Park City, where we take pride in preserving both open land and our past, ensuring the farmland remains intact is a worthy cause. Residents who agree must act fast before it's too late.