Summit County Council Ponders What Next For Unfinished South Summit Trail
Members of the Summit County Council have been pondering their priorities for 2021—both big projects and small.
On Monday, they struggled to decide what the future could be for the partly-constructed trail along Highway 32 in South Summit, connecting Oakley to Kamas.
During the Council’s recent retreat, Chairman Doug Clyde said that completing the trail is an important task for him.
On Monday, Clyde said that a decade ago, about two miles of the trail was done--coming from Oakley, where he lives. The trail has been surveyed, and a wetland delineation has been performed.
He said it’s a critical safety issue, and everybody talks about finishing the trail, but nothing happens.
“I think the expectation from the community is that the trail is going to connect someday because that’s obviously what we want it for. We want it as a way for our children in the area of South Summit to be able to move along Highway 32 without becoming a grease stain on the road.”
County Manager Tom Fisher said the Council hasn’t talked much about finishing the project, either with county funds or searching for grants. He said the South Summit Trails group is pushing to get it done.
The county has budgeted funding for designing the trail.
Public Works Director Derrick Radke said construction would cost about $850,000. He said it’s not in his work plan for 2021, and Clyde said he doesn’t expect that either.
Fisher said for the long term, they have to figure out who would operate and maintain the trail.
Council Member Kim Carson said they have to look at formulating a Recreation District in South Summit, just as Districts have been set up in Snyderville and North Summit.
Clyde said he certainly agreed with that, to a point.
“And that’s the conversation we’ve been having with anybody who calls up and asks, “How come we don’t get money?” Well, the answer is because you’re not taxing yourself. And we’re clear on that. But does that mean that we don’t pave trails or we don’t take care of public-safety concerns just cause you don’t have a rec district? No, of course not”
Clyde said he’s bothered by the notion that they have to get a Recreation District set up before the trail is completed.
“That’s a decade-long project. I mean, crying out loud. We’re just trying to keep kids from getting run over by a damn semi. (Robinson) Why is it so lengthy to create one? Is it because there isn’t the political will to have one? (Clyde) I think that’s right. I mean, we’re at the basics here.”
Council Member Chris Robinson said he certainly supports continuing the trail design and getting it all done. He said they should look for a mechanism to maintain the trail.
Carson suggested bringing the topic up at the December meeting of the Council of Governments.
But Clyde said he’s already been hearing from his South Summit neighbors for a long time.
“I go to people’s houses. I go two doors down. I have a meeting with the trails people. They say, “When the heck you gonna get this done?” I say, “We’re working on it. I’m talking to Council about it. We’re trying to get money to budget it. We’re given you some money so you can go ahead with a wetland delineation, move it forward.” They’ve done that. I think for the Council to say at this point we need to have a conversation with South Summit Trails and with COG before we consider whether we should move this forward or not, it’s disappointing, let’s say.”
Summit County Council Chairman Doug Clyde.