Park City votes to buy Bonanza Flats

City wants to save the 1,350 acres from being developed

PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Hundreds of acres of pristine land that joins Big Cottonwood Canyon with Park City and Wasatch State Park is up for sale and Park City wants to buy. Thursday night the Park City Council voted unanimously to move forward with plans to purchase Bonanza Flats. 

Alpine lakes, miles of hidden trails and hundreds of acres of open space; Bonanza Flats is where people from the Wasatch Front and Wasatch Back have been going for decades to escape. Park City Mayor Jack Thomas said, "I skied across that land in 1958 for the first time and I make it a point to get back there every year."

Protecting this space has been a goal of Park City for years. It's why last November the city asked its residents to tax themselves $25 million in hopes that if the 1,350 acres went up for sale Park City could have a seat at the bargaining table. The residents overwhelming voted in favor of passing the bond.

Utah Open Lands Executive Director Wendy Fisher said, "I think that everybody has always seen Bonanza Flats as one of those large inholdings in the central Wasatch that once it's gone you're not getting any of those opportunities back. It has been the subject of development talks for decades, and so when the opportunity presented itself it was the Park City community and the residents and voters who stepped up to the plate and said yes we will tax ourselves $25 million to have a seat at the table."

The land originally belonged to a conglomeration of mining companies then it was sold to Talisker. Talisker hoped to develop it, but foreclosed on the land a few years ago. Now Wells Fargo owns it and is willing to sell it to Park City for $38 million. Park City now has to come with with another $13 million on top of the bonds to make the deal happen. Several non-profit organizations and other local municipalities have signed on the ensure that happens.

"You know if this would have been developed, then there's kind of a metastasizing effect to development and it expands and grows. This hopefully will put a lid on it," said Thomas.

Thursday's vote means the city will put down $1.5 million as an option on Bonanza Flats. That purchases three months in order to allow the city and partners to kick fundraising efforts in high gear. If all goes as planned the city hopes to close on the land some time this summer.


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