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Local News

Parkites Show Up In Support Of Protecting The Snow Ranch Pasture

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The Park City Council wanted to hear what the community thought about contributing $3 million to protect the Armstrong property and that’s exactly what they got at Thursday’s meeting. Melissa Allison has more:

Parkites showed up in numbers to support council contributing $3 million dollars toward creating an easement that would protect the 17 acres of property known as the Snow Ranch Pastures.

The Park City Council asked Budget Manager Nate Rockwood to create a couple of scenarios on where they could pull the money from other items.

With talk of adding the $3 million dollars needed to the Treasure Hill bond, which is currently set at $50.7 million, some council members were concerned about upsetting the public and losing the communities support who told them early on, keep the bond simple.

During public comment at the meeting however, the community proved otherwise.

John Stafsholt lives on Woodside and told council he’s all for it.

"This piece is an iconic piece, the iconic red barn instead of the iconic white barn here, its right next to it," Stafsholt said. "The view shed – adding this piece in with Treasure just seems to be something that’s very beneficial. We bring a couple of communities and we’re pretty much saving the last two pieces that are large and in the city limit.”

Former Council Member Cindy Matsumoto agreed with Stafsholt.

“They are the last hope at preserving the Park City as much as we can of the Park City that we all love," Matsumoto said. "And that Armstrong property has been on the books forever as something that we’ve struggled to work with the owners, and work with the Utah Open Lands and they have hung in there. Just the opportunity to get that piece of property also would be a dream come true for me and I think for the community also.”

Former Council Member and current KPCW Chairman of the Board Bob Richer told council to finish what they started in the early 1990’s.

“I was on the city council in 1990 when we did the first open space acquisition which was the Osguthorpe farm," Richer said. "I felt it took a lot of courage at that time because we truly emptied the cupboards. Our offer consisted of the monies that we had and we rolled the dice... So I would say to you be courageous, be bold. Let’s do something that will have a lasting positive impact not on just this generation of our citizens, but on future generations of Parkites.”

Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher agreed with Richer but wanted to add that there is a piece of this story that speaks to the heart and soul of Park City.

“The family with a piece of property that is in the city, the pastures portion, is zoned one-third acre development," Fisher said. "And they’re making a 63 percent contribution, so before this bond even goes to the ballot, if this even gets put on the bond, we’re already seeing leveraging of the dollars beyond any of the private fundraising that we would do, because the family is donating 63 percent of that conservation easement.”

Kyra Parkhurst said it’s a great opportunity.

"I think a big part of getting this to pass will be the communication, that its not like, ‘Oh they’re throwing another big piece on,’ and communicating to the public what it really means in dollars," Parkhurst said. "The other thing that would be great for our city is to be able to say we have an emerald necklace that surrounds our whole city of open space and this would be the last two links of the necklace to surround our city.”

Regardless of which option council chooses, it’s not going to cost the taxpayers any more than what was already proposed. That’s because the city already had $4.7 dollars set aside to purchase open space. The city dedicated $1.7 million of that to purchase Treasure Hill, leaving $3 million dollars they could put toward the Armstrong easement.

Before council decides anything, they said they want to engage the public and get more feedback.

Rockwood will be back before council at the Augusts 2 meeting with an update on his findings and then again on August 16 when council has to adopt the bond resolution for Treasure.

I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW News.

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