Eagle city council votes to buy land for terrain park

Eagle city council votes to buy land for terrain park

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by Bonnie Shelton

Bio | Email | Follow: @BonnieKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 27, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 27 at 11:51 PM

EAGLE -- City of Eagle leaders are offering up a new idea to try and get plans for a snow terrain park back on track.

It's the latest in a months-long battle between the city of Eagle and Ada County Commissioners.

City council members voted Thursday night to offer the county $4,000 dollars per acre for about 34 acres of land off Horseshoe Bend Road. The land is part of the Ada-Eagle Sports Complex and altogether, the acreage would cost the city about $136,000 to purchase from the county.

Eagle Parks and Recreation Director Mike Aho said the offer is based on an appraisal of the land, including the Eagle terrain park. He added that under the current lease, the land has no value.

"There has to be some kind of solution," said Aho, about the current controversy over the park.

Right now, Ada County owns the 289-acre sports complex and leases the land to the city of Eagle for $1 a year.

Ada County Commissioners have spoken out against the terrain park in the past, saying it violates the current lease because the snow park would generate a profit. County officials and their attorney have argued that violates the lease agreement which only designates the land for recreational use.

"We interpret the lease agreement differently. The county interprets it differently than the city. The city believes it can allow for public-private partnerships. The county does not," said Aho.

Eagle city leaders want to buy 34 acres from the county so they can build ski runs and tubing hills through a contract with Gateway Parks. That chunk of land includes the footprint for the park, as well as the already existing skate park, bathrooms and parking lots within the Ada-Eagle Sports Complex.

In addition, city council members voted to end their current contract with the county for the remaining 255 acres of land in the Sports Complex. That means Ada County would then take over.

"They'd be in charge of all the maintenance, all of the operations and management of the rest of the park," said Aho.

KTVB tried contacting the Ada County Commissioners for comment on the proposal, but they were unavailable. A spokesperson for that office said the commissioners haven't received a formal offer from the city of Eagle yet. She said when they do, they'll set up a meeting to discuss it with Eagle city leaders.

Meanwhile, Mike Aho said the terrain park will be an asset for the area, because it will help bring in money for maintenance. He said the city's budget for managing the sports complex is currently strained.

Plans show the snow terrain park will cover about 7 acres of the 34 acres the city hopes to buy from Ada County. An Eagle review board approved a staff report Friday morning that outlined structural and layout details for the snow park.

It's now up to the Ada County Commissioners to decide what happens next.

"They may come back with a counter offer. They may accept it or they may reject it completely," said Aho of the county's options.

Eagle city leaders say all existing areas of the park, including the foothill trails, skate park and BMX tracks will still be open and free to the public if the terrain park is built.

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