Some military dependents at Fort Douglas are upset that they were not told earlier they might have to move out in a year, when the University of Utah acquires the 61 housing units they live in.
About 55 acres of the fort are to be signed over to the university within a year.At one time, the residents were told the exchange would not happen before 1993, said Tami Pierce, a civilian who lives on base. Now that date may be moved up a year.
"There are lot of people up here who really financially cannot afford to move like this," she said.
She told the Deseret News that after a dissatisfied resident circulated information that included a general's telephone number, an officer reacted with a memo that all written material handed out on base must be approved in advance.
"We send out fliers - like the post wives have coffee every month . . . and those fliers are put in our mailboxes," she said. There wasn't any trouble about them, order forms or political campaign materials, she said.
"All of a sudden it's something he (the officer) doesn't like, and now we're being told, `oh, you've got to bring everything to my office.' "
She expressed dissatisfaction with the official responses that were given at a meeting with residents on Thursday night. "Why were we kept inthe dark about this? Why weren't we told that these things were in the works?" she said.
Meanwhile, a special task force of faculty, university staff and students is trying to determine what should be done with the 55 acres when the school takes it over, which by law must be within a year. The Army will keep the remaining 64 acres for an Army Reserve center, a readiness group and recruiting offices.
Walter P. Gnemi, vice president for administrative services at the university, said the school would seek information from Salt Lake officials, neighbors of the fort, retired military personnel and others. A class of the university's urban planning students has already made a study of the fort.
Although the legislation transferring the fort says the land trade will occur within a year from the time President Bush signed the law - which happened on Monday - the university might allow residents to stay longer.
Gnemi said that would be considered "if mutually satisfactory arrangements can be worked out and if there are no immediate plans for university use of all the housing units," he said.
In 1988, Fort Douglas and dozens of other bases were declared surplus. A federal panel said all the land should be sold, with the proceeds used to pay costs of closing the bases.
The fort is nearly an island in the center of the university campus, surrounded by the Health Sciences Center, main campus and Research Park.