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Park City voters reject first rec bond in more than 20 years

Park City Municipal
The MARC will be getting new outdoor pools, despite the bond verdict.

Park City voters rejected a $30 million bond that would have paid for new pickleball courts and an outdoor ice rink. Here's why.

A majority of the bond would have been paid for by second homeowners and businesses, due to higher tax rates.

It would have funded a brand new sports complex in Quinn’s Junction with indoor/outdoor pickleball courts, a Nordic skiing training area, and an outdoor ice sheet. It also would have paid for an expansion of the PC MARC.

According to preliminary election results, more than 55% of residents rejected the bond.

Park City Heights resident Megan McKenna, who works for Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, made a public argument against the bond during a city council meeting in October.

“Initially, I did think it would pass,” McKenna said. “But as time went on, and I talked to more and more people in the community, I kind of got a feeling that some people had some concerns about it.”

McKenna said people she talked to cited concerns about cost of living and said the city could spend the money on more pressing needs, like housing and child care.

“It just didn’t make a lot of sense to invest a lot more in something that we’re already doing a really good job at,” she said.

McKenna said residents also expressed they don’t want to pay for new facilities that will end up being mostly used by non-city residents.

Park City voters passed a $25 million bond in 2016 to purchase Bonanza Flat as open space. Recent data shows the majority of trail users in the area reside in the Salt Lake Valley.

Park City Recreation Director Ken Fisher, who helped organize the projects on the bond, said he was disappointed but respects the voters’ decision.

“Maybe we were too heavily focused on pickleball, maybe it was not enough detail in other areas,” Fisher said. “Certainly there seemed to be a sense of - Park City should be not supplying recreation amenities for people outside of the Park City area.”

Fisher said his team will now be focused on two separate capital projects the city already has $15 million to cover. Those include a renovation of the City Park summer camp building and new outdoor aquatic facilities at the PC MARC.

“I don’t look at the bond failure as a referendum on the job that my staff does,” he said. “We continue to try to live up to our mission statement of enriching the lives in the community through exceptional people, programs, and facilities.”

Fisher said the last time a Park City Municipal bond failed was in 2001, when voters rejected a $2 million measure to renovate the Racket Club, which is now the PC MARC.