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Nibley council votes to buy land for future park

November 8th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Mitch Henline

NIBLEY – The City Council voted 3 -1 Thursday night to approve the purchase of land for a 50-acre park. The $5 million project will be built in stages over the next 20 years in order to provide recreation for a growing population. The park will be built on a lot that is already owned by the city, plus three adjacent lots that were approved for purchase by the vote.

Mayor Gerald Knight said the city isn’t planning on building the park immediately, but is planning ahead. “There isn’t a need and we don’t have the money,” he said. “But there is a need in 20 years, and we do have the money to do it in that time frame.”

Nibley residents voiced concerns about the park Thursday before the vote. There were concerns about the cost, whether or not it would be a safe place being built too close to the train tracks and the necessity of the park. City Manager David Zook said demographics show that a new park will be needed in the upcoming years.

“The population is just going to grow,” Zook said. “We’re going to have more people, more kids, and parks improve quality of life. It will make Nibley an even better place to live and raise a family if we have more park space.”

Zook mentioned reasons for purchasing the land now as opposed to a later date. He said large pieces of land are more and more challenging to find as communities develop. He also said it would be less expensive to purchase the land now rather than to wait until later.

“It is only going to cost more in the future to buy that property especially as development approaches,” he said. “Another reason we need to do this is because we charge an impact fee for parks. That impact fee is based on the level of service that we have. We provide a certain level of service for park and recreation services and once we start charging an impact fee we have to maintain that service and we also have to spend those dollars. Once we start collecting those impact fee dollars, we have six years to spend them and we have to use them for the stated purpose.”

Councilwoman Carrie Cook was the only council member opposed to purchasing the land. “We did look at a lot of properties and we discussed a lot of options,” she said. “When you’re looking at properties you have to look in at price point. You have to look at location and cost and infrastructure. All of those things come into play. We literally did go from one edge of the city to the other. However, at the same token I think I’ve been one of the only opinions of opposition in this whole debate so I’m just going to take this opportunity to say it again, just because that would be uncharacteristic of me not to. And that’s where I stand.”

Councilman Larry Jacobsen explained his reasons for voting in favor of the park. “This has been a long and difficult process. I apologize to our citizens that we were not able bring you along with us as we went through the long and interesting discussions over the last year for the reasons that we did not want to drive the price of property that we were considering up to our detriment,” Jacobsen said. “Know that it has been a long process and that this was the last piece of property I was interested in buying for park property. We eliminated and eliminated and eliminated and it really comes down to value.”


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