At the bottom of the ballot this year, Salt Lake County voters will get to decide on a number of local issues. Among them is whether or not to fund a $90 million parks and recreation bond.
Called Proposition A, the general bond would allow the county to build new parks, trails and rec centers — and renovate older ones.
Salt Lake County residents have approved funding for the Zoo, Arts and Parks program, or ZAP, three times over the last few decades, most recently in 2014.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams backs the measure.
“So this, again, is not a tax increase, but it’s just renewing the commitment for the next 10 years of buying open space and developing parks and trails throughout the Salt Lake Valley,” he says.
McAdams says the projects are needed to accommodate a growing population and improve quality of life.
“It’s critical that we get out in front and we purchase open space, and we preserve open spaces, so our families and kids and people who live in this valley can recreate and play soccer and hike and ride their bikes before the open space is gone.”
About two-thirds of the bond money will go toward developing 11 new projects across the valley. That includes a regional park in Magna, a park for West Valley City and a 35,000-square-foot recreational center in Draper with a competition lap pool.
Sandy resident Steve Van Maren is voting against Proposition A. He says the bond is short-sighted and allocates too much money for upkeep.
“I think these are valid projects, they need to be done,” says Van Maren. “But I’m a little concerned that almost $31 million of it is for things that should’ve been done on a regular budget basis, because they’re maintenance and enhancements to existing projects. They’re not major things.”
McAdams says the bond is what the county can afford and won’t burden residents with new taxes.
The county oversees about 70 parks throughout the valley. For more information and full list of proposed projects, visit Salt Lake County's parks and recreation bond page.