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Draper officials will ask developers for a plan for Park School

Draper (Salt Lake Tribune) » This growing Salt Lake Valley community has roots buried deep into the area's history.

First settled two years after the pioneers' 1847 foray into the valley and initially known as South Willow Creek, the 42,000-resident city at the valley's southeast end boasts at least 12 historic structures around its early commercial core. Many, because they are occupied homes, seem destined for preservation in one form or another; a few are business structures. All date well into the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Then, there is the Park School -- the largest and most-prominent structure of them all.

Named for an early Draper educator -- John R. Park, who later became the first president of what today is the University of Utah -- its fate is less certain. City officials are wrestling with what to do with the crumbling structure that Draper preservationists hope can be saved -- at least in part.

Whether that is possible should be known soon. Assistant City Manager David Dobbins, late last month, said the city expects to send out a request for proposals, "hopefully by the first of the year," to see if a developer will step forward with a plan.

"Someone could propose to save the building or demolish it<' Dobbins said. "Other than that, no specific plan is in place."

Demolition is unthinkable, said Ray Terry, president of the Draper Historical Society.

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