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Summit County purchases over 200 acres of open space near US-40

parcels 56 and 64.PNG
Summit County Assessor's Office
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The county has acquired parcels 56 and 64.

The Summit County Council confirmed a multi-million-dollar open-space land purchase Wednesday.

The Summit County Council approved spending $6.5 million on over 200 acres of land near the Park City Business Center close to US-40.

Officials said the current plan is to preserve the land as recreational open space.

Money for the purchase will come from fund balances, rather than the $50 million open space bond approved by voters last year.

Summit County Councilmember Malena Stevens told KPCW the county is still evaluating what exactly it wants to do with the open space.

“At this point and with the increasing cost of land and with some of the other development that is occurring in that area - it seems to be a useful opportunity for us in procuring that 204-some odd acres,” she said.

Stevens mentioned the possibility of new trails or other complements to the Rail Trail, which runs through the property.

The council also approved a nearly $3 million real estate purchase contract with High Valley Transit for the district’s new home near Home Depot.

High Valley officials said it will not be ready for at least a year, however, they plan to move to a new temporary home in Quinn’s Junction ahead of this winter. The white tents which make up its current headquarters at Ecker Hill Middle School are expected to be removed in September.

In other items, the council signaled its support for charging electric vehicle (EV) users to recharge at some of its stations. A fee of $0.43 per kilowatt hour will be imposed at the county’s three EV fast chargers. That equates to roughly $31 for a full charge on an EV sedan. Roger Armstrong was the sole councilmember against the measure.

Additionally, nine county residents were appointed to the County Manager Selection Committee. Current Summit County Manager Tom Fisher’s last day is Friday. He is heading to Frisco, Colorado to be the new town manager. Deputy County Manager Janna Young will take over in the interim until a successor is named.

The committee will ultimately nominate three finalists to the council, who will make the final decision.

Councilmember Stevens said if there is one key quality she is looking for in a candidate, it’s leadership.

“One thing that Tom Fisher has really shined at – he’s been able to work really closely with his staff and gain the trust of his staff,” Stevens said.

Discussing the current stop work order being enforced by the county at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School, Stevens said they are currently in ongoing conversations with the school district.

“The CUP – conditional use permit process is one that everyone has to go through whether it’s the county ourselves, we’ve gone through that process, other special service districts have to go through that process, members of the public have to go through that process,” she said.

The school’s campus expansion is currently on hold because the school district did not obtain the proper permits for its project. Park City School District Superintendent Jill Gildea told KPCW that “the legal issue centers on the question of how much authority the County has over an addition to an existing public school.”

District officials are meeting with county planning staff Thursday to discuss the situation.

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.
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