Construction cones a precursor to improvements to Sugar House area

Posted at 6:47 PM, Mar 13, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- A mess of orange cones, mounds of dirt and tractors will soon transform into a trail, a water control project and a piece of art that tells the history of pioneers coming into the valley.

‘The Draw" at Sugar House will be at the center of Parley’s Trail. The draw itself is a tunnel under 1300 East that will allow people to walk and bike through--connecting Sugar House Park to the Hidden Hollow Natural Area.

“The tunnel will accommodate commuters,” said Walt Gilmore, who is the project manager of Parley’s Trail. “This provides so much better safe access to the Sugar House commons area and back and forth to Sugar House Park.”

The project will also include a public plaza in the shape of a Sego Lily, designed by world renowned environmental artist Patricia Johanson of New York.

“It’s basically a narrative that tells the whole story of people coming into the valley but using the landscape itself, which is really the connection in the past and the present,” Johanson said. “Even though the landscape changes, enough of it remains the same that that’s our connection to past generations.”

The Draw has been in the works for more than a decade. Now on June 6, just months away, the trail will be opened to the public while the artwork for the project is being finished.

“They’ll see it and recognize the history behind it, of the pioneers coming into the valley and the features coming in here; it’s certainly going to enhance people's experience when they come to Sugar House,” Gilmore said.

The canvas for the artwork is being prepared for now on the west side of Sugar House Park, but between $1.5 million and 2 million is still needed to complete the project

“We’re looking to raise that funding, now we have a window of about two years to be off the site and complete with that,” Said Juan Arce-Larreta of the Rails Trails and Tunnels Coalition.

The project has been funded through a combination of federal, state and local grants as well as partnerships with the community. But donations are needed to build the Sego Lily Plaza with all of the artistic elements.