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Cottonwood Heights, with the support of the Canyons School District, is planning to create a new park on the Mountview Elementary school site.
City leaders started negotiating to take over the property at 1651 E. Fort Union Blvd. shortly after the school district decided in March to demolish the school, which had sat idle for years.
Those talks resulted in the district agreeing to lease the school property to the city for a nominal annual fee, although the formal contract has yet to be signed, said Kelvyn Cullimore Jr., the mayor of Cottonwood Heights.
"I haven't talked to anyone who said they would like to see that property developed with condominiums or apartments," Cullimore said. "There is a lot of support among our city's residents for creating a park on that property."
Demolition of the school building is now under way. When the park is finished, it will be known as Mountview Park, according to City Councilman Scott Bracken.
Cullimore pointed out that the Butler Middle School, several miles away, is due for reconstruction, which will result in the playing fields there being unavailable for a time.
"So having a park at the Mountview site will help us address the need for additional recreational property," he said.
Canyon School District spokesman Jeffrey P. Haney said the district was eager to work with the city, but at the same time had wanted to retain ownership in case the land might be needed in the future.
"That property was mothballed even before the district was created in 2007," he said.
Area residents are excited by the prospect of a new park.
Lani Kai Eggertsen-Goff, who lives several blocks away from the school, said even though the school was closed, the property still was heavily used.
"There would be people walking their dogs, using the playground equipment and playing games on the fields from 5 a.m. until after dark," she said. "So I was really pleased to hear that a park was going to be created there rather than the land subdivided into tiny lots with additional housing in a glutted market."
Marty Pierson, whose home backs up against the schoolyard, said it will be nice to have a more functional property nearby.
Cullimore said two "concept plans" for the property have been posted on the city's website.
"One is a more active concept with formal playing fields primarily for youth sports such as soccer. The other also leaves some open fields but for more informal use," he said.
He said a decision on which concept city will go with could be made by the end of the week.