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Park City residents pass $15 million trail-system bond

Published: Friday, July 3 2015 7:42 p.m. MDT

Park City can add "walkable" and "bikeable" to their list of accomplishments — Park City residents passed a bond Tuesday by 55 percent for pedestrian and bike-friendly trails throughout the city streets.
That $15 million bond is a big start to making Park City completely interconnected through trails, linking neighborhoods, shopping districts and even mountain trails.
"I'm utterly elated" said Carolyn Frankenburg, who lives in the Park Meadows neighborhood and began pushing for a walkable city two years ago.
"It was really just grass roots, neighbors getting together and talking about how unsafe it is for us to be out on our own streets. We're in this idyllic place, where we have miles and miles of mountain trails, but you can't get from one neighborhood to the other without crossing some harrowing streets," she added.
Frankenburg said the issue is particularly pressing for school kids, many who have to cross major streets and busy intersections to walk to school. Park City High, McPolin Elementary and Treasure Mountain Middle School all sit on Kearns Boulevard, one of the major arteries into the city. Frankenburg's kids were walking to McPolin when she started looking into making walking routes safer.
Community groups Share the Road, Coalition for Safe Streets and Mountain Trails Advocacy Group also pitched their activism. The city hired Salt Lake City-based Landmark Design to create a trail system to fit in with Park City's unique mountain/urban environment. The study found 105 projects for the city to consider, ranging from a pedestrian bridge to a sidewalk crossing.
The city approved $1.9 million for upgrades last year in the council's budget — but activists wanted more.
"Rather than a Band-Aid to fix a sidewalk, we pressed the city for a bigger picture," Frankenburg said.
In August, the Park City Council gave the thumbs up to the $15 million bond. Tuesday's vote tally came down to 1,018 for the bond and 833 against.
Critics said traffic safety is not a problem and that the bond would only benefit Park City proper.
However, Parkites have historically been in favor of recreational improvements. Residents have approved three major open space bonds in the past six years, totalling $40 million, and a 2001 bond for the ice arena at Quinn's Junction.
Those trails will not only be a benefit to locals, but tourists, who could easily walk to Park City's tourist spots once a system is in place, advocates say.
"We see it not only as a huge economic development tool for our tourists and guests, but quality of life for our residents," said Jonathan Weidenhamer, economic development and special projects coordinator for Park City.
"In our mind, that $15 million gives us the ability to not only do a higher quality, better project and increase safety, but it gives us the ability to do more total projects and solve more issues," he said.
Now, the city will begin finalizing positions for a Walking and Biking Advisory Liaison Committee (WALC). That committee will make recommendations to council members on how the bond money will be spent. Nine seats need to be filled — six will be appointed by groups such as the planning commission, Share the Road committee and Park City School District. Three others will be filled by other residents. Residents can apply for those spots at City Hall.
The $15 million bond will take 15 years to pay off and cost a homeowner with a primary residence worth $665,000 (the average home price in Park City) an extra $111 a year. A second home or business of the same value will cost $203 extra in taxes a year.


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