West Point nature park to be bulldozed; parking lot to replace part of land

Posted at 10:12 PM, Mar 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-25 00:12:12-04

WEST POINT, Utah -- Residents of West Point are upset with the city for planning to bulldoze over a popular nature park and replace it with a parking lot.

The residents say the park isn't only beautiful but educational and it will be missed. However, the city says the park has become a hazard and it needs to go.

The park consists of about five acres of land directly behind West Point Elementary School. In 1996 the city and the Davis School District came to an agreement. The city lets the school use the park as long as they maintain it.

Almost 20 years later, the school admits they've been unable to properly care for it, which has primarily been the responsibility of the teachers and students.

Starting next week it's scheduled to be demolished.

"We're really upset about it, to lose it, and I know that the elementary school they bring their kids down here and they do these walk-throughs that are really educational," said resident Joelle Caruso.

The park is only open to students of West Point Elementary. As part of their curriculum
they get to go outside and learn about the vegetation and wildlife that make up this outdoor classroom.

"Everyone will miss it because it's like part of our school and our neighborhood," said second-grader Ryan Maxfield.

For Ryan, her favorite part about the nature park are the geese, but most likely she's feed them for the last time.

"The city doesn't have the budget to maintain that big of an area to bring it back up to good up keeping," said City Manager Kyle Laws.

Over the years the park has become over grown with vegetation, while important infrastructure, like the pond drainage system, has broken down.

"We as a school district said we really love it but we can't take care of it," said Chris Williams, of the David School District. "It needs some attention and our kids they don't have the where with all, they aren't landscapers, they can't do this."

On March 17 the city, with the support of the school district, voted to demolish the park.

"I'm disappointed I wish we would have had more time to discuss it in depth," said resident Mike Liegert.

Liegert, like residents throughout the area, received a flyer on their door, from the city, stating that the park will be torn down. He wishes there was also a flyer sent out before the city made their decision.

For many residents, Liegert said, it came as a complete surprise.

"If money was an issue to keep up the nature center then I think our community would of stepped up and got involved to offer to help keep it up," Laws said.

Laws told FOX 13 that city council was not trying to sneak anything by the public. He said it just so happened the construction company was ready to go to work around the same time the council voted.

The final plans of what will replace the nature park have yet to be determined. The city says whatever it is they want it to be beneficial to the majority of the residents. They did say at least some of it will be parking, but certainly not all of it.

According to the city, there will be an upcoming community meeting where the residents will have a chance to give their opinion on what should be developed.