BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL — The Bountiful City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to purchase space for a park near Bountiful High School.
“I think it’s a once-in-a-generation move,” said Councilmember John Marc Knight. “You don’t just get the opportunity to purchase this quality of land in the middle of Bountiful.”
To create the park, the city plans to purchase about 7.5 acres from Gail Stahle, the publisher of the Davis Clipper. He approached the city mayor about it last fall, according to reports from city staffers.
The future park is located on Mill Street at about 600 East. It will come at a cost of $2 million, which will come from the Capital Projects fund.
“It’s very unusual to have this in front of us, and it’s been a real treat,” said Bountiful Mayor Joe Johnson during the meeting.
The park nearest the planned park is West Mueller Park at 1800 South and about 800 East.
“Bountiful doesn’t have much undeveloped land left for new parks, so being able to add one so near the center of the city is very exciting,” Johnson said in a press release about the purchase
In fact, neighbors who attended council meeting on May 14 broached the issue of too few parks in that neighborhood.
The property now includes a home and both open and wooded areas, and the city has not made plans for improving it beyond making it accessible and public outdoor space. It borders Millcreek on the south.
According to Stahle, there are at least 70 mature trees on the land. Many of them were damaged or destroyed in the windstorm of December, 2011 and during the winter of 2012-2013, but dozens remain, creating a peaceful, forest-like environment. Negotiations about the potential sale have been underway for weeks.
Stahle has had multiple offers from home developers to sell his property, but said the price the city is offering made for a better deal. Both he and the city had the land appraised.
Stahle has no immediate plans to leave the Clipper, he said.
The council also voted to purchase of property in Holbrook Canyon. The city has already acquired about 120 acres of property that had been owned by Jed Stringham. He and his family offered their 160 acres at $1,000 per acre. On Tuesday, the council voted to acquire 40 acres at the same price. As in the previous two rounds of acquisition, the State of Utah, through the LeRay McAllister program, would provide the matching funds, according to a report by staffers.
Part of the city’s agreement is that the ownership history of Stringham and his family will be featured on a plaque at a trail head on the land.
The purchase means the city will own about 85 percent of the property up to the ridge line, allowing it to apply for federal funds for trail improvement.
The funds for both purchases had already been included in the city’s budget.