What Faustian Bargain will be made on Bonanza Flat?
Park City Municipal has wagered $3 million dollars of public money that it will be able to find enough cash to buy the $38 million Bonanza Flat area. The purchase has to be completed by June 15.
So far the effort has stalled. Park City residents have agreed to pay $25 million in a bond. Summit County agreed to pitch in almost $6 million. Private persons have pledged 2 million. That left the city over $5 million shy of having funds to buy the property. Park City had hoped Wasatch County, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, and maybe even Sandy City would help foot the bill.
Wasatch County said no. Salt Lake County said no. Salt Lake City pledged $10,000.
So, Park City is still at a $5 million deficit to what it needs.
That leaves Sandy City or … someone else to help Park City out.
Government is about compromise. You have to give something to get something. So, what will Park City give to own this PRIME piece of land? They need someone to step up, and we are fairly confident someone will. The question to ask is, “What will we give up for someone to step up.”
People sometimes give up something for nothing… organizations usually do not.
Unless Michael Jordan is willing to donate, or some other benevolent benefactor is found, we guess there will be a quid pro quo.
So, we wonder where will the remaining money come from?
Will it be from a Wayne Niederhauser (Utah Congressman) or Sandy coalition? Will we need to dig a tunnel from Big Cottonwood to PCMR to get the money?
Will additional money come from Deer Valley? Will they want to ensure their gondola from Silver Lake Express to Main Street is accepted?
Will money come from Vail? Will we need to enable the Canyons to build a multi-level parking structure at the Cabriolet lift to get their money?
Will it be from a thousand small donors, who will make up the difference?
It seems that the likely, low impact, donors are no longer an option. How do we feel about the higher impact donors?
Is it worth it?
Maybe. Maybe not.
How MUCH do we want Bonanza Flat to be open space?
That is the root of the question.
More people might contribute if there was a covenant recorded at the time of closing that guaranteed what the land would be used for y e a r – r o u n d. Summer use is easy to imagine due to its ease of access, so let’s focus here on the 6-9 months per year of winter the area experiences. As I see them, the two extremes of winter use BF would experience under PCMC’s ownership are: mass-trespass of piped-out, ear-splitting, 2-stroke snowmobiling (a.k.a. the present) and a highly enforced no-motor area with no meaningful place for the public (who would have paid dearly for the property) to park and enjoy the property the majority of the year (winter).
Many would agree that development would be preferable to the former. Perhaps the compromise there is 4-stroke only with a decibel limit. The latter’s main issue, parking at the property, is easily remedied too. Little ol’ Brighton Estates Property Owner’s Association has been showing it can be done for 8 years. Yes, everyone, there is an existing 436 lot subdivision adjacent, and actually part of the greater BF.
If this purchase is really about not giving the buying public access in the winter, then please have PCMC say so. Many would like to know what their money is buying them and many have a finer understanding than: development, bad; open space, good. This is especially so when the majority of the funds available for the purchase of BF were generated from…development.
In the giant slush fund of Park City’s budget, coming up with $5 million should be easy. They spill that much. PC would never have entered into the contract to purchase if they didn’t know they could ultimately come up with the money. Shaking down the neighbors is helpful, but Park City will dig deep into the paper clip drawer and find the $5 million, or at least ways to cover it while they do some longer term adjustments.
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