Record editorial: County open-space bond is opportunity to preserve a prized resource

People who live in Park City and the Snyderville Basin understand that spending money to preserve open space is a wise investment. That’s what allows us to enjoy treasured areas like the McPolin Farm and Bonanza Flat, two community jewels protected with the help of voter-approved tax increases, without the lingering fear that they’ll one day be transformed into housing developments.

With the $50 million bond measure Summit County placed on this fall’s ballot, East Side residents now have an opportunity to join with their neighbors on the West Side in stepping up for the cause.

The bond measure, which would fund future open space acquisitions and other environmental or recreational projects, is the largest-ever such proposal in the county for the purpose of land preservation — and the first of its kind that’s not limited to Park City and the Basin.

Supporting the effort is a no-brainer for all voters — no matter where in Summit County they live.

For East Siders, it’s a chance to counteract the development pressures that are increasingly bearing down on their communities. Though the County Courthouse has not identified specific targets for land preservation, officials have said they want to spend a significant amount of the funding on the East Side, where there are more opportunities to secure large swaths of open space.

Residents on the West Side, meanwhile, have always demonstrated a willingness to open their pocketbooks to preserve land. They would be wise to do so again, even if the benefits of the bond are more immediately apparent in other areas of the county. In an era of growth, we all stand to reap the rewards of ensuring the beautiful landscapes that make Summit County a special place to live remain free of large-scale development.

And the plain reality is that, while $50 million is a lot of money, the impact on most taxpayers will be small. According to the county, the owner of a $685,000 primary home would pay about $50 a year.

The remaining open space that surrounds us is one of our most prized resources. For less money than many of us spend on a dinner out, we can ensure more of it will continue untouched, to the benefit of us all and the future generations that will call Summit County home.

That’s a bargain, and one voters should enthusiastically support.

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