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Armstrong Says He Is Setting Record Straight On County, New Location For Recycle Utah

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Recycle Utah has been in the news lately, since the recycling facility will soon be displaced by Park City’s Arts and Culture District and it will have to find a new home.

But about that, Summit County Council Chairman Roger Armstrong says he wants to correct the record.    Talking to KPCW, he takes issue with the impression that the county was tasked with finding Recycle Utah a new home.

Armstrong said he just wanted to make something clear.    The county always said they would do what they could for Recycle Utah, but it is not their issue to solve.        

“Park City made a decision about building and Arts and Culture Center.  I think long before that Recycle Utah understood that they were running out of space.  I think it’s tough to get in and out of there.  And they knew that at some point they had to relocate.  I think Park City enhanced that when they decided to buy that and turn it into the Arts and Culture District.   They came to us and said, ‘We’re making this change, they’re gonna have to find a home.  Can you see what you can do.   And we said, “Yeah, we’ll look around and see if there’s something out there.”

He said the county has two open pieces of land—the Gillmor Parcel off the Highway 40 frontage road, and the Cline-Dahle parcel on the Rasmussen frontage road.   But a property like, say Gillmor isn’t ready to offer a solution.       

“There are no roads on—there are cows eating on the Gillmor parcel right now.  Park city has made its decision, as I understand it, that they need that empty so that they can start some road work over there by April.  We’re not gonna be in a position to do anything by April, and we made that clear.”

He said that Recycle Utah could pursue the same solution that’s been followed by other local non-profits.    Armstrong said he had discussions, which he thought were productive, with Recycle Director Carolyn Wawra and Board Member Ari Ioannides.         

“I’ve had two meetings with Carolyn and Chris Cherniak and one of those meetings was attended by Ari, and explained it.   They seemed to understand it.   So hearing Ari say that the county is not being very helpful, staff is doing a good job, but the county overall is not being very helpful.  Over the last several years, we’ve had meetings, consistent meetings with Recycle Utah saying we’re looking around.    And we have looked to try and identify places.  I understand that Recycle Utah has a bucketful of money to buy land.  When the Peace House needed a new facility because it outgrew its facility, it raised money, it bought property, it built a facility.   When the Christian Center grew out of its space, it raised money, it bought property, it built a new facility.  Children’s Justice Center did the same.”

He said he had suggested this was a good time for the recycling operation to re-evaluate a number of factors.     

“They have 5000 cars driving in and out on a monthly basis, 5000 tailpipes.  And we’re going to wind up putting a facility someplace further out, where they’re going to be either longer trips to reach that facility, and if they’re successful, additional cars.  Is there a different way of doing business so that we don’t incur that kind of carbon impact from whatever it is that they’re doing?”

Armstrong said the county will be re-looking at its garbage contract with Republic Services, and Recycle Utah could be a part of that.   

But he’s unhappy  with the situation as it stands now.        

“And I’m just disappointed that somehow—the pharse “No good deed goes unpunished”  “Can you help us out here?—Sure, we can help you out” somehow got turned into, “Did you find them something?   How dare you, not finding them something.”

Summit County Council Chairman Roger Armstrong.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.
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