Council decision a disappointing setback for Bonanza Park
June 18, 2013
The timing of Park City’s announcement that it was no longer considering moving the Rocky Mountain Power substation currently located on Munchkin Drive to a parcel on lower Iron Horse Drive is a mystery.
A little more than week ago, Park City held an all-day open house to warm citizens to the potential advantages of moving the utility to a less central location, thereby making way for an extreme makeover of the area referred to as Bonanza Park. The long-awaited vote was scheduled next Thursday and up until last Friday, it appeared that city staff favored the new locale and Rocky Mountain Power was willing to cooperate.
But then, on Friday, City Hall released a terse statement that it had "terminated consideration of the 1555 Iron Horse Drive site for the Rocky Mountain Power Substation expansion."
The announcement dashed 18 months of pipe dreaming and planning for nearly 99 acres of under- or undeveloped property in the heart of the city.
To his credit, Mark J. Fischer, the lead developer and biggest advocate for all that Bonanza Park could become, says he will move forward on the project, even though the substation will not be moved.
According to city staffers, the current substation cannot keep up with the area’s growing power needs and a new station or an expansion of the current facility is mandatory pronto. It seemed, therefore, like an opportune time to look at a new site.
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But, apparently, something snapped late last week. The city’s announcement indicates that Rocky Mountain Power dropped the hammer, saying, "The hurdles that need to be cleared in order for the substation to be moved cannot be resolved within a time frame that will allow Rocky Mountain Power to complete its upgrade by fall 2015."
It is unclear, however, why the city’s time line, including the open house and scheduled vote, was suddenly unacceptable. The only plausible theory is that the protest launched by a neighborhood near the proposed new location spooked Rocky Mountain Power and/or the City Council.
It is disappointing that so much time was wasted considering an alternative site based on a flawed time line. While Bonanza Park has languished, the Redstone Town Center at Kimball Junction has flourished and is siphoning business away from the city.
Still, the property has great potential for everything from commercial development to affordable housing, an educational facility, a transit center and open space.
It is time to move forward.