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Sandy residents protest ‘big boxes’

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SANDY — Residents jammed city hall Tuesday night to air their gripes with a proposed big-box development at the gravel pit on 9400 South and 1300 East, a space many residents say was promised as a city park.

In the public hearing, residents called the project a step toward turning Sandy into a slum and the most divisive issue in the city's history.

The crowd erupted into applause as resident Gary Forbush said residents wanted "parks, not parking lots." Several children held signs with the same statement and wore papers saying "I can't play at Wal-Mart."

The Boyer Company development would put a Wal-Mart, Lowe's and other retail development on the lot that a city-commissioned study said could bring $10 million to the city in the next 15 years.

But Cynthia Long, head of the Save Our Communities group organized to stop the development, said residents don't want to trade a community park for sales tax dollars.

Long said a recent poll of city residents showed much greater support for the park.

"The people of Sandy are being shortchanged," Forbush said.

Forbush also pointed out that the poll showed a strong majority of residents would be willing to pay $10 more a year on their property taxes to fund a city park.

The City Council will vote on the development Nov. 9. The city's planning commission voted to recommend the project to the council last week, despite three public hearings in which residents rallied against the development.

E-mail: estewart@desnews.com