Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Gene Kennedy ReportingLarry H. Miller has joined a petition drive against commercial development at This is the Place Heritage Park.
Miller is especially opposed to a proposed office building on park land. He feels the park should be open space, not office space.
He has said in published reports, "Building an office building clearly goes away from the established mission of the park. I know [saving the park] is a big job, but they crossed a line to say, 'We are going to sell our future to save our present.' What you can't do is sell or lease the land and then 20 years later decide it didn't work."
The park is in financial trouble. Its board says it could bring in $400,000 a year if it leases 12 acres of land to the nearby blood clinic for commercial development.
There's now a petition drive against that.
Bryan Jensen of the Sunnyside East Neighborhood Association said, "We're concerned that leasing space for an office building that will raise $400,000 will not necessarily ensure the viability of the park."
Petitioners are trying to collect half a million signatures to persuade the state to take ownership of the park. They're asking for support. You can find a link in the box on this page.
The head of the park foundation, developer Ellis Ivory, doesn't think the state wants take over ownership of the park.
People have a wide variety of opinions about what the park should do.
Mindy Brown who is against the development said, "That doesn't work for me, cause Brigham Young wouldn't be there saying "this is the place" with a latte in his hand, it doesn't work."
Kim Flora who supports some development said, "I can understand the office building being built by ARUP but preserving this open space is crucial." When asked if she thought the office building would compromise the open space, she said, "No, as long as they're clear where they're building it."
Another supporter of some development, Alan Roberts, said, "For me, it's not a problem if they develop if it benefits the maintenance of the park and the upkeep and that's what it's gonna take to save it."
LeeAnn Burnett who is against development said, "I feel it's gonna commercialize a piece of Utah history and I don't know if that's a very good idea."
Ultimately, the board for the Division of State Parks and Recreation has the final say. Board members will vote April 19.