Groups trying to decide what to do with Farmington Pond went another round this week but made little progress other than deciding to appoint a committee to try and come up with an acceptable plan.
A proposal sent to the Davis County Commission by Farmington City was all but rejected outright when a delegation from the city met with the commissioners Monday.The pond and dam creating it are maintained as a flood-control basin by the county, but the pond has been a popular fishing and recreation spot in the city for decades.
It is stocked periodically by the state Division of Wildlife Resources, which has found in surveys that it is one of the most-used recreation and fishing spots in the state, due in part to its location near urban areas.
Residents living around it and adjacent to its access road have been complaining about traffic on the road, litter and garbage left by users and late-night teenage beer parties.
The city, county and DWR are trying to formulate a plan to develop the pond and control access to it, but they can't agree on matters of liability, who will pay to maintain the site and other jurisdictional issues.
DWR has offered $50,000 in development funds, and Farmington City officials proposed that $20,000 of it be used to pipe in water from Rudd Creek to ensure a constant flow of fresh water and another $20,000 for construction of restrooms.
The rest of the money would go for installation of picnic tables, improving the access road and installation of water and sewer lines.
The County Commission has balked at the idea of developing the area, fearing a conflict between the pond's use as a flood-control basin and as a recreational site.
"As I look at it, I ask myself what the county's interest in it is, and the answer to that is flood control," said Commissioner Robert Rose. "For our interest, if we put three nice, large-size boulders across that access road, our interest would be complete.
"By sponsoring fishing, we expose the county to liability by attracting the public," Rose said.
"The best interest of the county would be to let the city use it or lease it, releasing the county from liability," the commissioner said, adding that the county is not in the recreation business.
Not so, countered Farmington Mayor Robert Arbuckle, who pointed out the county operates two golf courses, is exploring building a third and is building a fairgrounds and horse arena in west Farmington.
"If you follow your line of reasoning, we should just close the pond because it mostly serves county and non-city users," Arbuckle said, referring to a DWR survey that shows only 13 percent of the pond's fishermen are from Farmington.
"The pond is there, it's been used for decades, and both sides need to acknowledge that," Councilman Art Maxwell said.
Commission Chairman Gayle Stevenson said an agreement between the city and county, along with some other parties, to develop and use the pond dates back to 1972 and needs to be updated and revised.
He agreed the pond should be upgraded and that the city and county have cooperated in the past.
"I don't want the pond to be a source of irritation or bad publicity," said the chairman.
The county has already agreed to install a timed, electronic gate on the access road that will open early in the morning and lock up at night. The gate, to be installed this fall, costs $2,600.
In addition to fresh-water flow and restrooms, the city's proposal includes construction of a fish-cleaning station, paved parking lot, and revegetation of the area around the pond, which was scoured out by the floods of 1983 and resultant construction.
No estimate was made for those projects.
The city also wants to be paid for maintaining and policing the area, at just under $11,000 a year.