When Provo announced in April 2014 that it had purchased 80 acres of Rock Canyon for $1.6 million, most people assumed that was all of it. But there was still 18 acres, just south of the trailhead, that remained privately owned — until Tuesday.
On Tuesday night, Jan. 5, the Provo city council agreed to spend $120,000 to buy those 18 acres, with the Rock Canyon Preservation Alliance kicking in another $120,000 for the purchase, which was all raised through donations. Part of the property may be used to expand the parking lot for the popular recreation spot, said Tara Riddle, Provo’s property coordinator/ombudsman.
As part of the purchase agreement, Provo agreed to record a preservation easement for the portion of the property just east of existing homes, so that nothing can be built there, said Tara Riddle, Provo’s property coordinator/ombudsman. The preservation easement doesn’t apply to existing easements in the area, such as for utilities or the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
When the city bought the original 80 acres in 2014, it sold some property as part of the deal. Provo Mayor John Curtis said that because that property sold for more than anticipated, the city ended up spending less for the entire Rock Canyon purchase — including the latest 18 acres — than originally planned.
He added that the preservation alliance really drove the whole effort.
Ginger Woolley, alliance president, said she had about a 95 percent success rate in asking for donations, ending up with 70 people donating toward the $120,000.
“It’s a jewel that we can have for the future here,” she said.
Provo resident Melanie McCoard said she wishes there were preservation alliances to help protect other resources of Provo — Slate Canyon, Provo River and Utah Lake.