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Local Planners Gather to Redesign Pioneer Park Neighborhood

Salt Lake City
A rendering of Pioneer Park.

A group of professional urban designers and architects are meeting this week to lay out plans to redesign Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Park.

Pioneer Park is one of the most historic sites in Salt Lake City. But the neighborhood has struggled for years with drug-related crimes, prostitution and homelessness. That’s why local design professionals are willing to work pro-bono to make it a safer, more inviting place. This weekend a team of 15 designers and architects will come together to map out a plan. Soren Simonsen is a former member of the Salt Lake City Council. He’s also one of the designers involved. He says many of these designers have offices near the park.  

“So they feel the impacts of that neighborhood every single day,” Simonsen says. “There is a drug deal going on right on their office steps when employees are leaving at the end of a long day, particular this time of year when it gets dark early.”

Simonsen says physical improvements won’t address all of the challenges Pioneer Park faces.

“But urban design and the physical improvements in the park and neighborhood can support some of those things,” he says. “Making it easier to provide surveillance, attracting people to the park and those eyes on the street help provide better surveillance and reduce crime.”

The mayor’s office and the city council have already set aside funding in this year’s budget for potential improvements.  

The team is holding an open house tonight from four to seven at Big-D construction to get input from the public. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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