Letters: Tech Center was great deal for the county. Why dump it?
Why dump Tech Center deal?
This is in response to the excellent article by Alexander Cramer regarding the proposed changes to the Park City Tech Center property. The one objection I have with the article is the statement that “A decade ago, Summit County leaders tried to catch on to the growing trend by approving a tech center…” I also object to the whole concept as presented, but the reporting was great.
The Tech Center was one of the results of a much more complex negotiation for the purchase of open space from PRI (the arm of the LDS church that managed real estate). While Bob Richer was the main architect of this deal, I was the City Council representative on the negotiating team, as well as the Council liaison to COSAC at the time. The total transaction involved the purchase of significant acreage in Round Valley, the open space leading from S.R. 224 up to the Olympic Park, and the Triangle parcel adjacent to U.S. 40 south of the road maintenance shed. Combined funds from the city and the county were used to complete this $25 million transaction.
The Boyer Company retained the balance of the PRI property (approximately 89 acres) and separately submitted an application to develop the Tech Center. The concept of approving a Tech Center as an allowable use was suggested as a way to develop high-paying jobs that would allow employees of the Tech Center to afford to purchase homes in Summit County.
The deal served the goals of both the city and county by removing approximately 800 single-family development units, providing significant increases to our open space, and providing a vehicle for high-paying jobs in the county. There was no downside for the county.
So, the question is — why would we want to dump this deal, and provide a new developer the ability to develop “2 million square feet of development, including 1,135 residential units, commercial space, retail, offices and possibly hotels” on this space?
If you agree, please let your Planning Commission and County Council members know.
A magical evening
On behalf of the Summit Land Conservancy’s board of directors, our staff, our soiree committee, and our volunteers, I’d like to thank the community for supporting land conservation at the Blue Sky Bash recently. The Blue Sky Ranch, nestled in the golden hills above Wanship, is the perfect place to talk about open space and come eye to eye with cowboys, horses, hawks and eagles. Two other land trusts provided auction items for our event: Bainbridge Island Land Trust in Washington and Columbia Land Trust in Oregon helped us raise money to save land here in Utah, and in exchange, we’re able to offer them a ski trip to Park City, thanks to Vail Epic Promise.
There was truly magic in the room Saturday night. As our guests mingle among raptors brought by our friends at Hawkwatch International, and sip beverages prepared by High West and Old Town Cellars, something special happened. People stood up to save the places that are precious not just for wildlife or agriculture, but for children and for the future.
As a local nonprofit, the Summit Land Conservancy relies on this kind of support to save land. In the last 12 months we’ve completed six conservation easement projects in Summit County, including the Osguthorpe Farm on Old Ranch Road. This conservation is only possible because of our generous community.
Summit Land Conservancy executive director
It was thrilling for our family and so many others to read your headline “Mental health services enter new era September 1.” On that date the county’s new contract with Healthy U Behavioral became effective, promising much-needed treatment services for our loved ones who live with mental illness. We want to heartily thank and commend the Summit County Council members, County Manager Tom Fisher, Health Department Director Rich Bullough, Behavioral Health Director Aaron Newman, Park City Council members and all the community volunteers who worked to achieve this milestone for their dedication and leadership. When the community started to focus on improving mental health services four years ago, we didn’t dare think that we could come this far this quickly. Past problems with lack of service providers, long wait times for treatment and lack of continuity of care will now be firmly addressed.
But we need to remember that this accomplishment is a milestone, not our end objective of robust, effective behavioral health services for all residents of Summit County. Much remains to be done in rehabilitation services, for example. The recent opening of the Summit County Clubhouse as a place where adults with a history of mental illness can build the skills to reintegrate into the community is a significant step.
Nor should we let our excitement overshadow the problem of the stigma that comes with mental illness. There is no point in having the best mental health services possible if stigma makes the people who need them afraid to seek them out. We must be supportive of those who are addressing their mental health challenges and help them be full members of our community.
Much remains to be done, but what we have seen our community do over the past four years gives us great confidence in our ultimate success.
Lynne and Ed Rutan
Tip of the miner’s hat
In 1896 a group of 400 miners paraded down Park City’s Main Street, marching down to City Park for an afternoon of fun and sport with the community. The Park City Rotary Club is proud to carry on that tradition. Thanks to all for helping support the 124th edition of Miners Day this past Monday, especially for the huge turnout we had with Running of the Balls. We hope you had an enjoyable day.
Miners Day is a time for all of us to come together to celebrate our roots with our families. But it’s also a day to help the many wonderful causes supported by Park City’s nonprofits. Later this month the Park City Rotary Club will award $20,000 in grants to help make our support a wide ranging array of needs.
Our clubs is one of 33,000 Rotary clubs around the world, with 1.2 million members all focused on providing service to our communities.
The Park City Rotary Club has produced Miners Day for the community over decades. But it takes many partners for its success. Thanks to Park City Municipal for its partnership, along with our primary sponsors Zions Bank and UPS Store, along with our lead Running of the Balls prizing partners Vail Resorts Epic Promise and Deer Valley Resort. And a tip of the miner’s hat to all of the other local organizations and companies who stepped up to help.
Miners Day is an important tradition for our town. We look forward to seeing all of you on historic Main Street and in City Park next year on Monday, Sept. 7 for the 125th edition of Park City Miners Day.
Park City Rotary Club president
Stop passing the buck
With Park City and Summit County burgeoning to the point of overcrowding and with no apparent plan in place to limit expansion, why is there a continuous push to build affordable housing? Isn’t affordable housing a direct result of business owners paying their employees too cheaply? If business owners paid their employees a living wage, there wouldn’t be a need for “affordable housing” because workers would be able to sustain themselves on a proper wage. So can’t the argument be made that the middle class is once again indirectly paying for wealthy business owners to construct housing while these same business owners bask in profits? Are we really saying business owners such as Vail Resorts for example can’t assume the independent cost of building housing for workers they grossly underpay? Instead they along with others pass the cost on to the taxpayers while their profits increase? And what about other owners who own multiple businesses and swaths of land? Should everyone else pay to support these owners at the cost of their workers not being paid a sustainable wage?
How about business owners dig into their pockets, and start paying a respectable living wage to the people who work for them, and stop passing the buck.
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“I am concerned with reliance on the information coming from the ‘professional consultants’ without challenging or exploring the critical underlying assumptions driving their analyses,” writes Old Town resident David Gordon about the proposed PCMR project.