Guest editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial

Get ready: worthy causes will be competing for major funding this year

Bill Pidwell, Park City

Wow, there is a lot of talk of some big bonds coming down the pipeline for our little mountain town. We all have those opportunities that ring true to our ears, and those that make us go, hmm… Thankfully we are a town of deep pockets, so these all may come to fruition, but how much are we really willing to spend?

I ask this question in relation to the current push to supplement the $25 million bond for Bonanza Flats. I voted for this bond like I have for every other bond in my 20 years in Park City. I trust that our elected officials have the best interests of our city and county at the forefront of their mind. However, we are now rapidly trying to raise another $13 million from private donors to finish off the purchase of this beautiful piece of land. It makes me wonder, are we draining the well for something that is really our highest priority?

Yes, it is beautiful and perfect for hiking, biking and winter activities. I would hate for it to be lost to another private community –- but would that really have the biggest negative impact on our town in comparison to some other things on the table? Think schools? Think recreation? Think Bonanza Park? Think affordable housing? And heaven forbid, think Treasure?

A school bond is just around the corner, and a tax levy will replace it if we were to vote it down. This is now long overdue and a vital piece to keeping Park City on the forefront of education in Utah. I commend our school board for making this a reality.

A recent letter to the editor suggested removing the ice rink from city control as it wastes money and doesn't impact many people in Park City. I suspect the number of residents of Summit County that are daily users of Bonanza Flats would pale in comparison to the daily users of the ice rink, probably by a factor of ten or more. A recreation bond is forthcoming and is just as, or even more important to keeping our kids healthy in their respective sports, as it is to keep them healthy in the outdoors.

Bonanza Park and affordable housing are two parts of our town that could very well go hand in hand. The city has started investing in these, but a bond might be the only way to really control these two very impactful necessities.

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And Treasure is coming whether we like it or not. And boy will it have an impact. I see many yard signs saying "Stop Treasure" around town, and while humorous, it is just a silly position to take. We can't just stop people from doing what they have vested rights to do. However, we sure could "Buy Treasure" and preserve a more local piece of land, preventing a much more impactful development from happening in the hills around our city.

I ask that each of you taxpayers and donors prepare for what is coming. I commit to fund my portion of Bonanza Flats, but I also commit to financially plan so that I will be able to support the possible tenfold increase in bond money, taxes, and donations that will be needed for projects with a much larger and more direct impact on our community. If that thought scares you as a resident or elected official, then I suggest you think hard, and make sure that Bonanza Flats is the spot where you and our town will get the most impactful return on our investment.