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Government Shutdown Halts County’s Plans For Property Near Highway 40

The partial government shutdown has had an impact on Summit County in at least one instance.

County manager Tom Fisher says it’s created a snag for the county’s plans on the Florence Gilmor Property, near the Highway 40 frontage road.

The property is 462 acres, with the frontage road and Home Depot to the west, and to the east, the Justice Center and the Rail Trail. Part of the property lies in the Silver Creek mine tailings corridor, meaning the county has to deal with its environmental impacts.

County officials have been working on the parcel for about a year and a half, since they signed a purchase option with the land owner. But Fisher said now the EPA is closed.

“A lot of work has to go into developing documents in agreement with the EPA and the federal land trustees that include some state agencies as well. We’re very close to having those done. We’ve worked very hard over the past four to five months to really be at the table with all of these organizations about every two weeks to review documents. I think we’re getting very close, but again the federal government shutdown has halted that for the last few weeks. Until we can get back into that we probably won’t make much more progress. We’re ready to finish that up and get it closed so that we can move on to something else.”

We asked him what cleanup obligation the county has on the property.

“I don’t want to get too far into the details because a lot of this is subject to closed session still, but the property is within OU1 or operating unit two and three actually. So, there is an obligation at some point that it get cleaned up and that the stream corridor get restored. If the agreements go the way that we expect them to go in order to close on the property it won’t be the obligation of the county to do that it will still remain with the EPA.”

Fisher said the parcel will largely be open space, under county ownership.

“That’s the source of money that would pay for closing that property and the purchase agreement. There is a portion of it that is possibly developable and we’re talking about that with the EPA but initially it will all be open space until we decide to do something different with it.” Fisher clarified on the cleaning project, “The portions that are contaminated over a certain level have to be cleaned up. There are potions of the property that are not contaminated. It would be logical that those would be probably the areas that would be more available for development in the future.”

Fisher also said in general, the partial shutdown hasn’t affected county programs or staff. He also said the defense budget was approved last year, so Fisher is getting paid in his role as a Brigadier General in the Utah National Guard.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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