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Park City Council to discuss Gordo soil options, Mine Bench property at Thursday meeting

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Parker Malatesta
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The meeting will begin at City Council Chambers at 2:45 p.m Thursday.

Last year the city council abandoned plans for a soil repository at the Gordo property amid community concerns around environmental safety.

The Park City Council has a regular meeting Thursday, and the agenda includes discussions about soils at the Gordo property and possible housing options at the Mine Bench property on Marsac Avenue.

The meeting starts with interviews of five candidates for the opening on the city’s planning commission. A final decision on the appointment is not expected yet.

The council will then move to a discussion about the Gordo property, which lies alongside SR-248. The soil there contains chemicals like lead and arsenic and is found throughout much of the Old Town, Prospector, and downstream areas of Park City. The chemicals are a byproduct of the city’s mining history.

Last year the city council abandoned plans for a soil repository there amid community concerns around environmental safety.

Park City Manager Matt Dias said the council now has three options for handling the contaminants.

“I’m going to oversimplify, but it’s sort of the - haul it all away, cap it in place, or there’s a repurposing for community benefit, much like we did in the Old Town Transit Center,” Dias said.

Dias said many conversations lie ahead before a final decision is made.

A 2021 evaluation found that removing the soil would require roughly 4,000 truckloads over a 4- to 6-month period - which could cost over $4 million. Once the soil is removed, redevelopment at the site would be an option.

Capping the soil at the site would be less expensive - about $2 million - but would restrict the possibility of future development there.

A third option is a hybrid of those first two - it would combine some soil treatment along with development, using state programs for guidance. There is no cost estimate for that option.

Later the council will receive an update on the Mine Bench property located in the upper portion of Marsac Avenue. The city sees the site as a potential place to build affordable housing.

Dias said the city would go about that through a public-private partnership, similar to how the Homestake affordable housing project is progressing with a private developer.

“We are putting - based on the direction we’ve received from mayor and council - all of the obligation, all of the responsibility, all of the costs on the private sector," he said.

"So we’re saying, we’re willing to play ball, we think this is a viable location, but the entitlement process, the land surveying, the soils, all of those responsibilities would fall to a developer.”

Other items on the agenda Thursday include an update on the Park City Ice Arena and a look at speed limits on local roads.

The meeting will begin at City Council Chambers at 2:45 p.m. The agenda and a link to attend virtually can be found here.

Parker Malatesta covers Park City for KPCW. Before coming to NPR, he spent one year as a general assignment reporter for TownLift in Park City. He previously was the news editor at The News Record, the student paper at the University of Cincinnati. He loves running, reading, and urban planning.