Ideas abound for Kamas' Ure Ranch, to be purchased by Summit County
A conservation easement is planned for 185 of the 834 acres right now. Residents weighed in on what should happen to the rest of it.
More than 100 people showed out to the county’s first open house Jan. 22 to brainstorm ideas for the Ure Ranch.
The Ure family has ranched on the 834 acres and surrounding area since it homesteaded there over 130 years ago. Now the property is changing ownership, and perhaps what it’s used for.
The most popular ideas so far seem to be adding trails, keeping it open and continuing to use it for agriculture.
“I'd like to see as much of it continue to stay in productive green space as possible,” said rancher Mitch Dumke. “Productive, meaning that it's actually not just sitting fallow but that it's actually producing for this for the city, for the community.”
There were a few one-off suggestions like pickleball courts, an ice rink or an airstrip.
The most polarizing topic is housing. Some attendees said they want to see housing built, especially “attainable housing for teachers,” as one sticky note put it.
Others don’t want to see any building at all, especially not high density.
“If we do high density housing, we want to see it closer to the properties. near town and the road, right?” said Tracey Gooley, who lives south of state Route 248. “We don't want neighborhoods and streetlights, and we don't want to cut off [animal] migration.”
Some members of the Ure family were at the open house too. A group of them may approach the county with a proposal to buy back part of the land.
“Our idea is that the family purchase at least the homestead portion back and keep it running as a working farm, with a focus on ag tourism,” said Donna Pluim, formerly Donna Ure. She lives on the ranchland right now.
The latest from Summit County is that the nonprofit Summit Land Conservancy is pursuing a conservation easement for the “North Meadows,” the 185 acres of ranchland north of state Route 248.
The 649 acres to the south the county calls the “opportunity area.” That’s where there could be development, but from the outset, Summit County announced the majority of land would be open space.
It’s shaping up to be a complicated thing to fund. The county made a $5 million down payment with money voters approved to be used for open space.
It needs $20 million more to close the deal, which could come from grants. The property itself could generate revenue too.
“Candidly, I’m just here because I'm really curious about the hybrid model of using open space funds and simultaneously developing, probably, some of the land to help pay for it,” Dumke said. “I'm cautiously optimistic that they'll do it in a responsible way.”
Summit County has until 2027 to close on the property. Its communications department plans to organize more open houses this year to learn more of what the community wants for the land.
For more information, visit summitcounty.info/ureranch.