Park City Council steps up with their own cash, you should too
The Park Record editorial, April 5-7, 2017
April 4, 2017
Park City's five council members and the mayor are ponying up $25,000 out of their own pockets to help seal the deal to buy the 1,350 acres of undeveloped alpine meadows above Park City known as Bonanza Flats.
By putting their own skin in the game in the form of a challenge grant, they hope to inspire others to do the same. The price tag on the land is $38 million, $25 million of which has been pledged by Park City voters through a bond election. With a June 15 deadline looming, the city and a cohort of regional conservation organizations are working hard to raise the $13 million balance from a variety of groups. And from individuals like you!
Salt Lake City, through a metropolitan water fund, and Sandy City recently offered to earmark $500,000. Summit County topped that with a $5.75 million pledge.
In the meantime, leaders from Summit Land Conservancy, Utah Open Lands and Save Our Canyons, all of which are featuring fund drives on their website, estimate that the gap has shrunk to about $3 million.
Compared to the original $13 million shortfall, $3 million sounds doable, but as in all worthy endeavors, the final sprint is the toughest.
The Park City Council made a calculated decision not to ask Park City taxpayers to foot the entire $38 million bill to buy Bonanza Flats. After all, Park City School District taxpayers are already bracing for probable $100 million bond for new school facilities, and they just saw their local sales tax rate increase to fund much-needed road and transit improvements. It is only fair to ask residents throughout Summit County and the Wasatch region to help preserve a piece of property that will be enjoyed by all for generations to come.
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So our hats are off to Mayor Jack Thomas and council members Andy Beerman, Becca Gerber, Tim Henney, Nann Worel and Cindy Matsumoto for their generous gesture. Now it is up to local donors match the elected officials' commitment.
Time is running out. If Park City is unable to guarantee the full purchase price in two months, a developer is waiting in the wings to carve it up into private parcels with gated amenities. Residents who have been in Park City for any length of time know the sense of loss when open spaces are suddenly lined out by surveyors, heralding the bulldozers to come.
Wouldn't it nice, instead, to take a ramble in Bonanza Flats next summer and be able to say to your hiking partners or grandkids: "I bought this land for you."
To participate in the challenge grant, go to any of the following websites: Savebonanzaflat.org, wesaveland.org, utahopenlands.org, mountaintrails.org, wasatchbackcountryalliance.org, winterwildlands.org, or saveourcanyons.org