Legislation to transfer 55 of the 199 acres at Fort Douglas to the University of Utah passed its first hurdle in Congress Friday.
The Senate Armed Services Committee added the land transfer to its 1991 Department of Defense Authorization Act, adopting language from a separate bill that had been introduced by Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah.Garn said, "This is the first step in the land transfer process and I am confident that the Utah congressional delegation in the House can get similar legislation included in the House bill.
"I am certain that Fort Douglas and the University of Utah will continue to have a positive and healthy relationship."
The legislation would retain Army Reserve activity on part of Fort Douglas while giving the university 55 acres.
In lieu of payment for the land, the university would relinquish its legal right to withdraw about 4,200 additional acres of federal land. Earlier laws granted the university the right to select thousands of acres for the use of higher education.
In 1988, the Defense Secretary's Commission on Base Realignment and Closure recommended closing the base.