Summit County Open Space May Grow

Summit County is close to finalizing the purchase of a 461-acre parcel of land at the base of Silver Creek near the Interstate 80 and U.S. 40 interchange. County Councilors approved an administrative order on consent for a $10.4 million purchase to secure area for open space conservation, trail development and county government or civic uses. 112 acres, known as the Triangle Parcel, will be jointly owned by Park City and add to Summit County open space. $7.5 million of the purchase price will come from the 2014 voter-approved recreation district bond, and $2.8 million will come from other county funds.

The Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District has agreed to oversee the area. Plans include a trail system to connect Round Valley to the currently under construction Silver Creek Village Center, in addition to development that could include much-needed properties for affordable housing, a senior center, a Recycle Utah site or a public works facility. Trail expansion is always welcome in the area, and an infusion of resources to make the community more livable for a variety of residents is vital.

Negotiations surrounding the purchase have been ongoing for more than five years, complicated by the little-acknowledged environmental devastation wrought by Summit County’s mining history. Leftover mine tailings led the EPA to declare the land a Superfund site—the 125 acres slated for county projects is not considered part of the Superfund site. Beyond the more pressing issues like the ongoing watershed contamination that led to the infamous designation, the pollution has hindered both progressive development and long-term conservation. With Summit County’s rapidly-expanding community, balancing sprawl, development and conservation is no small task. If properly planned and managed, the mixed-use acquisition could prove a huge asset for Snyderville Basin.

The Gillmor estate, which currently owns the land, will contribute $1.5 million to federal and state agencies tasked with cleaning up the property. The recreation district will have to create a work plan and monitor the area as the EPA cleans it up, though they will be able to begin trail construction prior to that work being completed. The administrative order of consent still must go through a 30-day EPA public comment period, but the county hopes to close on the land in July or August and add more Summit County open space.

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Tony Gill
Tony Gill
Tony Gill is the outdoor and Park City editor for Salt Lake Magazine and previously toiled as editor-in-chief of Telemark Skier Magazine. Most of his time ignoring emails is spent aboard an under-geared single-speed on the trails above his home.

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