Basin Recreation History
July 16, 1986, the Board of Commissioners of Summit County adopted a Resolution (#4-86A) declaring that the public health, convenience and necessity require the establishment of a Special Service District, to be called Park City - Snyderville Recreation Service District for the purpose of providing recreational services within the boundaries of said Service District. It was determined that the Recreation Service District would have boundaries coterminous with the Snyderville Basin Sewer Improvement District, the Park City School District and the Park City Fire Service District.
On October 8, 1986, the following resolution was introduced in writing by Commissioner Clifton Blonquist: A RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH THE PARK CITY - SNYDERVILLE RECREATION SERVICE DISTRICT, SUMMIT COUNTY, UTAH, DESCRIBED IN THE NOTICE OF INTENTION CONCERNING THE DISTRICT AND TO AUTHORIZE CONSTRUCTION OF IMPROVEMENTS AS SET FORTH IN THE NOTICE OF INTENTION TO CREATE THE DISTRICT." (Resolution #6-86)
The initial membership of the Administrative Control Board included the following members: Mary Lehmer, Ed Axtell, Eugene Lambert, Thomas E. Flinders, Kim McClelland and Kristen Rogers. Commissioners Stanley D. Leavitt, Clifton Blonquist and Thomas E. Flinders voted unanimously in favor. The motion was approved and made a matter of record by the County Clerk on October 8, 1986.
On February 1, 1993, Resolution No. 93-2, was adopted, as follows: "A RESOLUTION WITHDRAWING PARK CITY FROM THE PARK CITY - SNYDERVILLE BASIN SPECIAL RECREATION DISTRICT, PROVIDING FOR DISTRICT ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL BOARD MEMBERSHIP APPOINTMENTS EXCLUSIVELY BY THE SUMMIT COUNTY COMMISSION, AND CHANGING THE DISTRICT NAME TO "THE SNYDERVILLE BASIN SPECIAL RECREATION DISTRICT."
In the early 1990's, the Snyderville Basin was caught up in what was referred to as a community recreation "crisis." It developed over a period of time due to a combination of factors, which included tremendous residential growth in the Snyderville Basin, few planning tools to provide for public recreation facilities, and a lack of funding. The Summit County Commission originally established the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District in 1986, for the sole purpose of providing recreation facilities and services to residents in the western end of Summit County. A seven-member administrative control board appointed by the County Commission governs the District. The District's "service area" is bordered by Morgan County to the north, Salt Lake County to the west, Wasatch County and the municipality of Park City to the south, and encompasses the Promontory Ranch and Silver Creek developments to the east.
Capital recreation projects were jumpstarted in September 1995 when Basin residents approved a $7.5 million bond election and a property tax levy to fund the operation of District facilities and programs. In December of 1997, the Snyderville Basin Recreation and Trails Master Plan was adopted as the recreation element of the Snyderville Basin General Plan. Bond funds were spent acquiring land for, and building, Trailside Park, constructing the field complex at Ecker Hill Middle School, contributing toward enhancements at the Ecker Hill Aquatics Center, and on the implementation of the Recreation District's Community-wide Trails Master Plan.
In January of 1998, the Aquatics Center at Ecker Hill Middle School opened, enhanced for a broader application of community use due to the cooperative capital funding efforts of the Recreation District and Park City School District. The Ecker Hill four field complex became fully operational in 1999.
The 63-acre Trailside Park property was purchased in 1996 for the purpose of constructing the Basin's first true community park. Construction was completed in 1999 and the much needed sports fields opened for play in 2000. Trailside Park was considered to be "built in the middle of nowhere" at the time of its development. Within a few years, several new residential areas, an elementary school and a church became close neighbors.
In January of 2000, the Recreation District Board commissioned Strategy Research Institute (SRI) to conduct a Needs Assessment survey in order to provide accurate and objective benchmark "intelligence" about its constituent base to be used for purposes of policy and facility planning. SRI updated the Needs Assessment Survey in 2003. The results provided the foundation for the Recreation District Board in prioritizing development of a phased recreation center, as well as an ice rink. Trails were ranked at the top of the list of recreation facilities most desired by District residents.
In 2001, voters approved a second bond election in the amount of $11 million. These funds were used for further trail system expansion and trailhead development, Phase I construction of the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse at Kimball Junction, and construction of the Park City Ice Arena at Quinn' Junction, in partnership with Park City. The Fieldhouse opened in spring of 2004 with a popular indoor artificial turf field, indoor running track and weight room. The grand opening of the Olympic size ice sheet at the Ice Arena was timed with the end of the Terino Winter Games in February 2006. Both the Fieldhouse and Ice Arena are open to all Summit County residents at "locals" rates.
Bond funds were also used in the acquisition of several recreational open space parcels. The 219-acre Rasmussen property north of Interstate 80 near Jeremy Ranch provided a key piece in backcountry trail connectivity and land for a mountain bike terrain park. Most notably, in combination with Utah Open Lands, the District assisted in funding the Hi-Ute Ranch conservation easement in order to protect this historic community icon in perpetuity.
The Summit County Board of County Commissioners established the Basin Open Space Advisory Committee (BOSAC) in 2003 and appointed members to advise the County Commission on open space planning and purchases in the Snyderville Basin. BOSAC's goal is to achieve preservation of important open spaces while protecting property rights. Passive recreational open space checks growth and sprawl, supports wildlife habitat, provides non-motorized recreational opportunities, like hiking and biking and limits the need for expansion of public services. To this end, utilizing the Recreation District as the local taxing authority, voters in the Snyderville Basin approved a $10 million general obligation recreational open space bond in November 2004.
Following an 86-acre land dedication in 2001 by the developers of the Willow Creek Estates subdivision for the purpose of building a new community park, the District embarked on a contentious two-year development approval process in obtaining the site plan approval for Willow Creek Park. Construction commenced in spring of 2004. This land dedication provided a key piece in completion of the East Highway 224 connector trail, which links Park City proper to Kimball Junction via non-motorized trails. The grand opening celebration for this trail and community park site was held in May of 2006. Sixty-six acres remain in their natural state, under a conservation easement held by Utah Open Lands. Today Willow Creek Park is a true community gathering place that sees year round use- traditional park uses in spring, summer and fall, with groomed x-country ski trails and ice skating on a one-acre pond in winter.
In summer 2007 and spring 2008 the District conducted additional Needs Assessment Surveys to guide the Board in determining future facility plans and the timing of the next bond. In the meantime, Basin Recreation staff continues to operate the popular recreation programs, camps and facilities that have grown without pause over the last decade to serve the 22,000 residents of the Snyderville Basin.