As local history buffs have scrambled to raise money to preserve the town’s historic mining structures, all along, there was a funding mechanism in place to do that. It was the terms of the original Flagstaff Development agreement that was supposed to provide the funding. The problem was no one remembered that – until recently. KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher has more.
Late last year, Park City Museum Director Sandra Morrison discovered that based on agreements signed in 1999 between Park City and United Park City Mines Company , the original developer of Empire Pass, there was a financial plan in place to help preserve significant historical mining structures that were located throughout the massive Flagstaff Annexation area.
But that agreement was apparently forgotten and as history buffs watched the old mining structures fall into disrepair, they banded together and formed the Friends Ski Mountain Mining History – a group that most recently helped raised money to fix the California Comstock Mine just above the Thaynes Chairlift. There are a dozen other projects the group has prioritized. Once this agreement is signed, there will now be money to do them.
As part of a plat amendment request before the Park City planning commission, an agreement is attached –and the agreement must be signed by the Empire Pass Property Owners Association if they intend to move forward with any future development approvals.
Park City Planning Director Bruce Erickson says when this plat amendment came up – it was time to figure it all out.
As part of the agreement, Erickson says the Empire Pass Master Owner Association will take responsibility for all of the mine sites that were listed in the original Flagstaff Agreement. In addition, the association will reimburse the Park City Museum and Historical Society for the Little Bell Mine Ore Bin repairs done last summer and the new owner of the Empire Pass development property, Storied Deer Valley and Reddus the company that took over the mine property from the bank after it was foreclosed on, will each pay $40-thosuand dollars to Park City for the work that will be done on the Judge Mine building this summer.
“It’s a fairly good number,” said Erickson. “For the next 10 years the master owner’s association will contribute $20,000 a year or in-kind services for preservation plus there are separate agreements with Reddus and with Storied that are in negotiations right now for the $65,000 for the Little Belle Mine sites to go back to the museum for the restoration of that and funding for putting the roof back on the Judge Mine and Smelting building.”
Park City he says will also provide some financial assistance.
“The city,” said Erickson, “will participate in part of this using our share of the open space management fee that’s part of the development agreement, so it’s very technical, but unbelievable performance on the part of the city attorney’s office and the two parties to the agreement. – So, what’s the annual obligation then? $20,00 a year and the city’s share – we get one-half of one percent of all the real estate transactions as part of our open space management fee, and so a portion of that or $20,000 will go as our share to historic preservation.”
Not all of the payment he says has to be in cash…some of it can be paid for through in-kind services.
“ Empire Pass has staff,” said Erickson. “They have backhoes – they’ve got other equipment. So, if we need to restore some of the signs for the museum, if we need to do revegetation, if we need to do site clean-up, or graffiti removal, they have staff on site and we’re willing to consider staff contributions.”
The parties have six months to figure out who is responsible for some of the undone obligations. The problem is that the city is no longer just dealing the mine company -- several of the parcels are now owned by other entities. Erickson says the city will not approve any future development proposals until the agreement is signed.
The planning commission will review the agreement Wednesday and it will eventually go on to the city council for approval.