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Wasatch County Council may donate $2 million for open space conservation

Lundin open space Midway.jpg
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Wasatch County will consider contributing to help put a conservation easement on open space just outside Midway.

Wasatch County could use voter-approved bond money to help conserve a farm in Midway as open space.

The Lundin family in Midway is considering placing 119 acres in the Heber Valley under a conservation easement through Utah Open Lands. The deal would prevent new development, only allowing for renovations to historic structures eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The land is expected to cost at least $6.5 million. According to Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher, that amount is less than the property's estimated value, and the Lundin family is expected to donate the remainder of the value.

The Wasatch County Council will consider contributing $2 million to the sale. That money comes from a $10 million open space bond Wasatch County voters passed in 2018. The Wasatch County Open Lands Board recommended the council approve the contribution.

The council’s financial help is contingent upon other sources contributing enough money to make the purchase. Utah Open Lands formally asked for the county to chip in. According to a report, it’s also seeking funding from the National Resource Conservation Service, Midway City and private donors.

The land is just west of Midway, south of the Zermatt Resort. As part of the conservation agreement, Midway and Heber would work with Utah Open Lands to build a public trail to connect with the area's existing trail systems. It would also serve as a route for educational tours on the property.

The council meets Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Wasatch County Administration Building, 25 North Main Street. Before deciding whether to approve the funding, the council will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m.

Corrected: August 10, 2022 at 2:52 PM MDT
A previous version of this report incorrectly stated that Utah Open Lands will purchase the Lundin property using secured funding from the National Resource Conservation Service.

The story also previously incorrectly stated that 60 acres of the land would be eligible for development of up to two units per acre, according to its zoning. The conservation easement prevents any new development.
Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.
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