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Salt Lake City Seeks Public Ideas for Parks To-Do List

Tony Frates
Flickr Creative Commons
Salt Lake City has 126 parks and 59 playgrounds on 926 acres. City leaders are asking public input about the future of outdoor amenities like Liberty Park (shown here).

The discussion about the future of Salt Lake City’s parks, trails and open space continues through next week with six open houses.

City leaders say the need to gather citizen input on outdoor amenities is obvious. Some of the city’s parks were designed and built decades ago, long before people thought about taking their bikes into the mountains on dirt trails. It’s one reason residents are being asked for their input on a new priority list, says Nichol Bourdeaux, deputy chief of staff in the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office.

“What are you interested in? Are we right in some of our planning?” she wonders aloud. We’re doing these open houses “because it is very personal. It is about the community and what’s important to them.”

City leaders don’t have specific ideas for the city’s official to-do list for parks, trails and open space. Instead, they want to hear the public’s wish list, including how to repurpose the Glendale and the Jordan River Par 3 golf courses. And the suggestions will guide city leaders going forward.

“It’s a public process that will come to the council, and we’ll give them feedback,” she says. “And they’ll make a decision, if they want, to take it to a bond initiative. And then moving it forward for the election this November.”

The city’s also taking input from people who want to weigh in on the issue but can’t get to the meetings.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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