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Magna site will house a library instead of Western theme park

Published September 22, 2008 1:43 am

More than 75 truckloads of debris - stockpiled for use in the proposed park - have been carted away
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

MAGNA - A plot of land that the former owner planned to use for a Western theme park will instead be home to a new library.

Neighbors are excited about the proposed construction - and the fact that more than 75 truckloads of debris have been carted away from the site.

Darrell Kilpack wanted to build a theme park on the property near 2700 South and 8900 West. He says he planned to use old materials to give visitors a look into the past.

''This would be a heck of a facility,'' Kilpack said. ''The way I can do this is by using used things, but I can make it new.''

But Salt Lake County officials didn't have the same vision. The county condemned Kilpack's property after he refused to negotiate a sale and paid to have the piles of old tires, broken machine parts and frayed industrial gloves removed.

About 70 percent of the material was in condition to be recycled, said Bruce Gibson, owner of the franchise that removed the refuse.

''A lot of this has to be done by hand,'' Gibson said. ''There was just an amazing amount of hoarding being done.''

The county plans to build a 20,000-square-foot library on the space, which will be welcomed by neighbors.

''I love it,'' said Randy Ellertson, who watched the trucks slowly haul away the rusty piles. ''It's going to clean up this neighborhood so much.''

Kilpack had been fined $30,000 for zoning and health concerns. After the county condemned the property in 2007, officials gave him two weeks to clear his items from the land. Kilpack said that wasn't enough time for him to find lawyers who could help him try to keep the land and everything on it.

''I had no junk there. It's all stuff I needed to build this place,'' Kilpack said. ''The state has way too much power. They should be helping people, not taking from them.''

The proposed library is scheduled to open by spring 2010. It will include a plaza and has been designed to fit the county's plan to revitalize Magna's Main Street.