Tooele City Mayor Patrick Dunlavy announced this week that the city is no longer considering the construction of a one million gallon water tank on the Bit and Spur Rodeo Grounds.
Members of the Bit and Spur Riding Club had contacted the mayor to protest the proposed water tank, which they said violated a decades-old agreement between the club and the city.
The Bit and Spur Club, which was founded in the 1940s, originally purchased the rodeo ground property and deeded it to the city in 1946. But the land, which was transferred to the city in exchange for $1, came with a catch: According to the 1946 document, the city was required to use the property to construct and provide a rodeo grounds and race track for the club’s use.
In 1983, a revised agreement amended those requirements to provide that the city maintain the rodeo grounds for use by the public, as well as the Bit and Spur.
That agreement still stands, Stew Paulick, a long-time member of the Bit and Spur, said during a Wednesday night presentation to the city council, and it doesn’t include a provision allowing the construction of a large water tank on the grounds.
It may not even permit the city to construct a well on the grounds, even though the city has invested more than $1 million into a well project that is already in progress on the site.
“The property was gifted to the city to be used for an equestrian park,” Paulick said. “The agreement does not say part of the property, it says all of the property, and it was not intended to be for 50 years — it’s forever. That’s the intent of the parties.”
Although upset that the city decided to construct the rodeo grounds well without first consulting the Bit and Spur, Paulick said that the club had decided to allow the city to continue work on the venture in light of the large amount of money already invested in the project.
He did request, however, that the city top the well with the smallest well house possible, to avoid interfering with activities at the rodeo grounds.
“We want to encourage the city to make the well house as small as possible, since it’s located in one of the most used areas of the grounds,” Paulick said.
Additionally, Paulick called on the city to pass a resolution requiring city officials to notify the club of future projects not related to equestrian activities that might take place at the rodeo grounds before work crews begin construction.
Even though he said he was notified of the mayor’s decision before his Wednesday evening presentation, Paulick said he felt he needed to move forward with his requests on behalf of both the riding club, and the public.
The city and the Bit and Spur have a recent history of conflict. Three years ago, club leadership called out the city for the lack of maintenance on the grounds after city road crews dumped a pile of gravel and other rubble on the grounds.
City officials responded saying they would love to do more for the grounds, but that funding for upgraded equestrian-related facilities on the property was unavailable.
The city council did not respond to Paulick’s requests during Wednesday night’s meeting.