The clock is running on the opportunity to purchase the conservation easement of 20 acres at the base of Thyanes Canyon – one of Park City’s most iconic views. KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher has this update.
The property owned by the Armstrong families is valued at $16 million. The family has agreed to absorb $10-million of that - leaving a price tag of $6 million. Park City residents voted in November to put $3 million towards the easement acquisition, leaving another $3-million to raise. Utah Open Lands Director Wendy Fisher says she’s been able to raise about $1.2 million through a number of grants. But they’re still short $1.5 million…
"Utah Open Lands has been doing a lot to get money from really outside of the community in part because we know this has been a heavy lift for voters and for the Park City and Summit County community in terms of supporting these open space efforts. But it going to take all hands on deck to get this done. What we’re encouraged by and one of the things we’ve talked to the family about, is that you know, starting until the first of the year we have the opportunity to apply to additional foundations that we may have been outside of their typical funding regimes and so that, we find that encouraging. But the other thing we know is in the work we did in fundraising for Bonanza Flat is that the more individual support you have, the more donors, foundations are willing to step up to the plate and that, we think is really critical for us now going into next year.”
A deadline to raise the $6 million has come and gone -but Fisher says the family would like to see the land protected and has agreed to a 3 month extension to March 31st.
“I think that both sides of the family are very interested in seeing this happen. I think the concern that I’ve heard voiced is how long do you wait to see it happen? And is there just not the support there. My hope has always been that if we get close to a number, they’ll give us a little bit extra time and I really feel that because we had gotten to about $1.6 when I sat down and met with them and then again other $100,00 after that, that was really encouraging for them. I think they definitely want to see it protected, but they also need to be able to get some funds out of this and that’s not uncommon for landowning families.”
Even though Park City residents will be paying off $3 million of the easement through a bond, Park City resident, Sally Elliott is hopefully they will continue to do what they can in addition to save what she calls an heirloom piece of land that dates back to 1878 when the Job’s family first lived there. Additional contributions she added are also helpful when securing future foundation grants.