Guest opinion: City Hall needs a better plan for soils, arts and culture district
I graduated from Park City High School in 2016, then UC Berkeley in 2020, and have recently moved home to Park City while I am applying for medical school. Because my college degree is in atmospheric science, I have found a particular interest in soils and thus the upcoming municipal elections.
After researching the Gordo site and listening to public comments, I have several deep concerns with this proposal. The first is the seemingly blasé way the City Council and mayor speak of the environmental impacts. According to the Preliminary Location Screening Analysis provided by the city, the site must be 1,000 feet away from a stream, lake or reservoir. In the analysis provided, there is no mention of Silver Creek, which is approximately 600 feet from the Gordo site. Mayor Andy, who prides himself on being for the environment, seems to have no issue passing an ordinance to make an exception to this regulation. Additionally, the regulations state that no site can be within 1/4 mile (1,320 feet) from residential areas. To my estimate, the new Park City Heights neighborhood is only about 100 feet beyond this limit. This neighborhood includes affordable housing and is often in the discourse that we are having about making living in Park City more accessible. To give you some idea of just how close these sites are, the First Time chair is 400 feet longer than the distance from the Gordo site to Park City Heights.
The United States has historically created regulations that allow waste sites to be close to neighborhoods so white neighborhoods can dump their soils in the backyards of poor people of color. Park City should aspire to a higher and safer standard.
The final concern I have is the way in which some council members are belittling Park City locals. During the City Council meeting on July 15, Tim Henney stated that there is a lot of misinformation about the Gordo site and that the citizens aren’t researching the facts before jumping to conclusions. This narrative eerily reminds me of the reign of Trump. If your citizens don’t agree with you, simply blame it on false information. I have read through much of the documentation that the city has provided on this site, and it seems like the city is the one that is leaving out certain information. Officials want to sell residents on this site because it looks better for them to spend less money with the current bill that they are racking up over the rushed-into arts and culture district.
It is for these reasons that I oppose dumping our soils at the Gordo site. I am also not sold on shipping our soils to another community’s backyard. The city needs to take a step back, reevaluate the arts and culture district as a whole and create a better plan for our soils and this project. If you want leadership that opposes the Gordo site, cares about the environmental health of their constituents, and will lead the city in developing a better plan for the future, Nann Worel is the only mayoral candidate that has voiced these positions. Join me in voting for Nann Worel for mayor and any City Council candidate that opposes the Gordo site.
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