Record editorial: Park City leaders must abandon efforts to build a soils repository | ParkRecord.com
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Record editorial: Park City leaders must abandon efforts to build a soils repository


The silver mining of yesterday’s Park City provides today’s community a point of pride. We are not a purpose-built mountain resort in the image of a place like Vail, Colorado. And even through the struggles of today, we can look back with hope that the silver mines flourished through the harsh conditions of their day.

But the mines also left a legacy of environmental hazards that has troubled the leadership of Park City, the residents of the city and the federal government for decades. Nothing short of the soil and water of Park City, and the health of people who live here, have been at stake in decisions regarding the environmental legacy of the mines.

The elected officials of Park City are likely on the cusp of making a decision regarding whether to build a facility off S.R. 248 to store soils that were contaminated during the mining days, something that could save City Hall in the range of $18 million compared to the cost of transporting them elsewhere.



The opposition remains livid in its arguments against a facility, and it is not clear whether Mayor Andy Beerman and the members of the Park City Council have been swayed during a recent stretch of especially staunch opposition. The mayor and City Council at a critical meeting on Thursday are due to discuss the concept for a facility. The opposition is also expected to converge on the meeting.

It is time, though, for the mayor and City Council to abandon the efforts to develop a repository. It is clear the community, seemingly with near unanimity, is appalled with the concept. The overwhelming opposition is a rare example of Parkites from across the community, and of various political stripes and socioeconomic status, allying themselves with one another on a municipal issue.



The mayor and City Council, then, must come to the realization that a concept brought forth by the municipal government they oversee should not be pursued. It would be a defeat for staffers and the elected officials. But that cannot and, we hope, would not be brought into the calculus of the decision.

There are environmental and health risks of locating the contaminated soils off S.R. 248 that cannot be overcome regardless of any safety measures that would be taken. There is also the risk of long-term, perhaps even generational, mistrust between the municipal government and the citizenry with the opinions so explicit.

The mines left a troubling legacy in Park City. The decision that will be made by the mayor and City Council will be part of their own legacy. We hope it is not a troubling one.


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