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Posted on: February 6, 2018

Summit County Secures 461-Acres in Lower Silver Creek Drainage to Expand Recreational Open Space

$10.4 Million Deal to Include Environmental Clean Up Plan

Coalville, UT (February 6, 2018) – The Summit County Council and the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District (Basin Recreation) have reached an agreement with the Estate of Florence J. Gillmor and the Florence J. Gillmor Foundation to purchase a 461-acre parcel of land east of US Highway 40 in the lower Silver Creek drainage. (View Map) The property is located directly north and east of Summit County’s and Basin Recreation’s 112-acre Triangle Parcel. The agreement contemplates that approximately 112 acres of the property will be available for potential future development, while the Triangle Parcel, together with the remaining ~350 acres of the Gillmor property, will be deed restricted and preserved as contiguous open space for Summit County residents.

“This land addresses many critical issues for Summit County residents and reflects the County Council’s desire to ensure that the use of Summit County’s open space funds broadly serves our residents’ interests,” said Kim Carson, Summit County Council chairperson. “This vast tract of land is close to the Round Valley open space and is effectively connected by the wildlife tunnel constructed in 2014. It also incorporates a section of lower Silver Creek and a portion of the Rail Trail; it offers a variety of recreation opportunities. It will also provide a potential future development parcel to satisfy some of the community’s needs such as affordable housing, transportation, etc.  Until that possibility is realized, the potential future development parcel will be held as additional open space.  In addition, the land will help protect important wildlife corridors and habitat in the region.”

“Florence Gillmor was very dedicated to the thoughtful stewardship of her lands in Summit County,” said James B. Lee, Personal Representative of the Estate and Foundation. “We were very pleased with Summit County’s deliberate approach to the preservation of these lands and to its dedication to furthering the environmental cleanup of the area. This is truly one of those rare transactions in which the sellers’ and buyers’ interests were served well, and the public is the big winner.”

Included in the $10.4 million deal is an agreement by Summit County to help resolve environmental liability with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Natural Resource Trustees (Trustees) concerning the property, which lies within a Superfund site designated by the EPA. The County’s purchase price includes the payment of certain amounts to the EPA and the Trustees, including Utah Department of Environmental Quality, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation, to satisfy their environmental damages and cleanup claims on the property. The EPA, the Trustees, Summit County, and the Gillmor entities are close to finalizing an overall agreement concerning the environmental cleanup parameters, which will be a condition precedent for the County’s closing on the purchase of the property. Beyond the initial payment to the EPA and Trustees as part of the purchase price, Summit County and Basin Recreation will not be obligated to undertake any cleanup efforts but shall make certain portions of the property are available to facilitate the cleanup.

“Importantly, this transaction also supports the County Council’s sustainability efforts by allowing Summit County to facilitate the efficient cleanup of the soil contamination that impacts much of lower Silver Creek flood plain east of US Highway 40,” said Summit County Council member Christopher Robinson, who led the negotiations for this property.  “In addition to the public recreation, open space, and wildlife benefits, the protection of this land also furthers the County Council’s efforts to limit growth along the Highway 40 corridor. The vast majority of this land will never be developed.”

The County and Basin Recreation have not finalized the sources of the funding that will be used for the purchase, but it will likely be a combination of available recreational open space bond funds and other County funding sources to be determined. In addition, the Gillmor Foundation has given the County the option of up to $5,000,000 in seller financing on reasonable terms.  

“Basin Recreation is very excited about the purchase of these lands, which will give Summit County residents the ability to travel seamlessly from Round Valley to the East side of Highway 40 via an underground tunnel,” said Brian Hanton, District Director of Basin Recreation. “We have already started sketching out the recreational amenities and trails that we anticipate adding. We are excited that the EPA and the Trustees want to see Silver Creek restored and we are especially excited that the Rail Trail will be accessible. This will be a big canvas for Basin Recreation to program.”

“This transaction supports a significant number of Summit County’s goals to protect and maintain our physical environment and to enhance the welfare of County residents,” said Tom Fisher, Summit County Manager.

“This is an important example of a local government entity working with federal and state agencies to help improve our environment.  We look forward to continuing that collaboration as the EPA and the Trustees proceed with their respective efforts to rehabilitate the Silver Creek drainage.”

“Our goal here is to facilitate the cleanup of this land in a reasonable amount of time. We’re doing it because we’re environmentally conscious and we don’t want a Superfund site in Summit County. And this land as recreational open space will be a significant amenity to the community. We thank the Foundation for working diligently with us over the past three years to produce an agreement that ultimately honors Florence Gillmor’s vision and commitment to environmental stewardship,” concluded Robinson.


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About Summit County:
Located in the northeast corner of Utah along the Wasatch Back, Summit County is home to more than 41,000 residents. Created in 1854, Summit County was named for the summits of the mountains, including 39 of the highest mountain peaks in Utah. Six municipalities make up Summit County, including Coalville, Francis, Henefer, Kamas, Oakley and Park City. The county seat is quiet, scenic Coalville, located on the I-80 corridor. For more information visit www.summitcounty.org.


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