The owners of Seven Peaks have no interest in some residents' 11th-hour effort to derail their proposed housing project in favor of a public park.
A coalition of residents suggests Seven Peaks trade its east-side property to the city for a piece of land Provo intends to buy in the Ironton area.The group then wants the city to take on a grandiose plan to transform the ground into "Heritage Park," a gathering place for community events and money-making ventures such as rock concerts and Boy Scout camps.
The group figures Provo could acquire the 117-acre parcel near Seven Peaks for a paltry $117,000, even though Seven Peaks says it has invested $4.5 million in the property. Residents speculate Seven Peaks owners Brent and Scott McQuarrie could make their money through selling the Ironton land as commercial sites.
"We are not convinced that any of their figures have any foundation in reality," Seven Peaks attorney Charles F. Abbott wrote in a letter to the City Council. "This whole idea would seem to be an ill-found, ill-considered pipe dream."
Residents asked the council Tuesday night to consider its proposal in lieu of the McQuarries' plan to construct 300 houses, twin homes and condominiums. The council is scheduled to vote on the McQuarries' request to rezone the property for housing next Wednesday.
Attorney Jeff Hunt, coalition spokesman, concedes residents have some lofty aspirations.
"Everything you see in this proposal is just a dream," he told the council. "It's a set of good ideas."
Council members didn't reveal during the meeting how intensely they'll consider the plan, but councilman David Rail didn't seem moved.
"I don't have anything to say about it," said Rail, who favors the Seven Peaks housing project, after the meeting. "We can't afford the parks we got."
Coalition members did not suggest a way for the city to fund construction of the facilities they envision at the park. Hunt said obtaining the land in a trade for the Ironton property is just one idea among many options the city could consider.
Abbot said Seven Peaks doesn't find the residents' proposal attractive. "The concerned citizens not only know how to use other people's property, but they really know how to spend other people's money," he said, facetiously.
Instead of houses, some residents see a year-round playground for cross-country skiing, picnicking and performing. They picture a Christmas attraction that rivals Temple Square. They see the park becoming home to most, if not all, events associated with America's Freedom Festival at Provo.
Residents figure local churches, clubs and Scout troops could volunteer to maintain the park. They would count on renting an amphitheater for concerts and performing arts to generate revenue.
Abbott said the proposal is based on the erroneous assumption that there is profit to be made operating public parks. "We don't think that is the history of parks in this city or any other city," he said.
Provo Parks and Recreation takes in about $30,000 a year in park fees and rentals, accounting for less than 3.5 percent of the department's annual income.