The Utah Sports Authority seems ready to award its most expensive prize - a $30.1 million winter sports park - to Summit County.
In assurances given to Summit County Commissioner Frank Richards, the board's chairman, Ian Cumming, said he was willing to prepare a letter to help with land negotiations, stating the board had selected the site. The letter would come two weeks before the board is to announce its final selections on July 10.Neal Stowe, director of State Facilities Construction and Management, said the letter would say selection depends on the board's final approval.
The proposed winter sports park at Bear Hollow, the only proposal received by the Utah Sports Authority, is located just off I-80 at Kimball's Junction on U-224.
Richards told the board he is confident he can strike a land deal with the owners of the property. Owners include Hi-Ute Investment Co., the family of Paul and Irene Buehner, an employee thrift plan of the Buehner Concrete Co. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. California-based Security Pacific Bank has already agreed to donate 400 acres to the county for the project.
Richards told the 12-member board on Wednesday that the county is proposing three scenarios of development for the sports park. The most grandiose includes four downhill ski jumps, an inverted aerial ski jump, a golf course and bobsled-luge run measuring 5,400 feet long.
The state has said it will build the 14-meter, 30-meter, 50-meter and 70-meter ski jumps during the first phase of construction along with the bobsled-luge track.
"The is the most politically acceptable site in the county," Richards said, noting that only a couple of people opposed the site. Earlier, county residents voiced opposition to two other sites. Those sites were not proposed to the Sports Authority.
Richards said the county also plans to construct housing at the site to help recoup the cost of purchasing the land. A $2 million grant from the Utah Community Impact Board also would help with the project.
Neil Richardson, chairman for the Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee's technical committee, said International Ski Association representatives said the park's proximity to a major freeway could give excellent exposure to the sport.
Cris Schulz, Summit County Commission administrative assistant, quoted a representative of the Army Corps of Engineers as saying a slight modification of a site plan would likely preclude any lengthy federal wetlands approval of the site.