Advocates hope to turn historic building into parking lot

Posted at 6:10 PM, Feb 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-18 20:10:52-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- A historic building in Little Cottonwood Canyon may be demolished to put in a parking lot. Advocates of the project say it will provide easier access to prime hiking locations and get rid of what many feel is an eyesore.

For over half a century the Old Grit Mill in Little Cottonwood Canyon has been abandoned. Graffiti now covers the walls of the Mill that once was used for pulverized granite.

"It hasn't been maintained for decades and it's time to clean it up and make sure ya know people don't have to look at all the graffiti and vandalizing on the side of the road -- and is really an eyesore to our Little Cottonwood Canyon," said Emily Moench, communications manager for Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.

Snowbird patrons raised more than $28,000 to put a parking lot where the Mill now stands in efforts to make access to hiking sites easier.

"We're going to turn this into a parking area so we can get all the cars off the side of the road in Little Cottonwood Canyon -- it will be safer and better for the watershed," Moench said.

The total project will cost an estimated $350,000. Snowbird along with the Forest Service and other contributors are working to get the remaining funds.

"It'll be better access to the road, safer for everyone and being as an international climbing destination it will really be a lot better for the canyon as a whole," Moench said.

A decision is expected to be made this spring but before the plan is finalized the Forest Service wants to hear from the public to see if they think the Grit Mill should stay or go.

"I would be happy to see it go if it were put to some good use," said Brandon Carlile of Salt Lake City.

A structure like the Mill, said Sandy resident Robert McEvoy, attracts children to play on it – it’s an accident waiting to happen.

If the plan is approved a parking lot is expected to be put in by the summer of this year.