Public Input Sought as Summit County Mulls a Potential $50 Million Open Space Bond

Sep 14, 2021

Summit County could put an open space bond as big as $50 million on November's ballot.
Credit Round Valley Open Space

Summit County is figuring out what to put on November’s ballot for an open space general obligation bond that could be up to $50 million, and they want the public’s help.

 

The general obligation, or GO, bond could be as big as $50 million. If approved, it would be the first county-wide open space bond in Summit County’s history.

 

Park City and the Snyderville Basin have both approved bonds in the past worth tens of million dollars for open space purchases. Park City bonded for a $48 million purchase of Treasure Hill in 2018.

 

Summit County Councilor Chris Robinson told KPCW in August that with large developments now creeping into the eastern parts of the county, the county government wants to be ready to purchase parcels for preservation when they hit the market.  

 

The Summit Land Conservancy’s Cheryl Fox said right now there is some flexibility on what the bond money could be used for. In addition to preserving open space, she said other uses could be on the table too.

 

“It could support some open space services, if you will,” said Fox. “I think there’s been some interest in, for example, some support for wildlife corridors and fencing and things like that. It could be used to purchase conservation easements to help save farms and ranches, it could also be used to purchase land that might be needed for a park or something along those lines.”

 

The process for determining the ballot language runs through September and two public hearings will be held in the county on September 22nd and September 29th.

 

Wendy Fisher is with Utah Open Lands and said public input is an essential part of any bond proposal and allows the county council to consider important questions the public might have.

 

“What is the impact that this can have, how is it gonna be managed as we go forward, and, really, are we going to be able to get some of those quality landscapes?” Fischer said. “And we think that’s why it’s really important to make sure that there’s public input to let the county know what’s important to people, what do they want to see, what are some of the advice about what that number should be.”  

 

September 22nd’s public hearing will be held at the Ledges Event Center in Coalville, and the September 29th meeting will be at the Richins building in Kimball Junction.

 

The bond will be on the ballot for Summit County’s general elections on November 2nd. 

 

To hear the entire interview with Cheryl Fox and Wendy Fisher, click here.