Overcrowding at Blackridge Reservoir concerns Herriman residents

Posted at 9:22 PM, Jul 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-06 23:22:08-04

HERRIMAN, Utah -- On a hot summer's day, the Blackridge Reservoir in Herriman is a popular spot to cool down. But for those living next door, the city park has become too popular.

"Our concern is safety, parking," said Herriman resident John Schwisow.

Located just around the corner from the reservoir, Schwisow has watched his street turn into a parking lot on busy days. While the city built a lot next to the park, it's not enough to hold the crowds visiting the area.

It's a problem he believes was underscored Saturday, when an 8-year-old nearly drowned.

"I'm really surprised that they even saw the person that nearly drowned," Schwisow said, "I believe if it would have been earlier in the day, I can't imagine that they could've even seen that there was a problem."

That problem didn't always exist, according to the city.  When the park opened in 2009, it wasn't as big of an attraction. Also, many of the homes currently there had not been built, yet. Still, officials contend they've been working to address the growing issues many homeowners are now having in the neighborhood.

"We do take the concerns of our residents seriously," said city spokeswoman, Tammi Moody.

The city has allocated funding to pay Unified Police officers overtime, in order to patrol the park area more frequently. While they're open to making other changes to suit resident needs, they also want to balance the needs of others utilizing the space.

"Is it something the city should police, as you say?" asked Moody. "If it's a public safety issue, it's a public safety issue. And the city would be limited on what they could do in those types of situations."

But for some, it's the city's planning, not policing, that is the issue.

"It's chaotic," said resident, Jeff White.

White moved into the neighborhood in 2008, before the park was built.

"We go visit the parks in the valley, but I feel like those cities have put ample planning together to handle the amount of people," explained White. "I think that's the big downfall here is the city has completely dropped the ball."

In August, the city plans to host a neighborhood meeting with residents to discuss potential changes they could make to the park.  One possibility is to construct more parking in nearby lots of city land.  The city is also considering building a second, larger reservoir to give people another option to use in the summer.

In the meantime, the park will operate as usual. That is good news, at least to those coming into the neighborhood from outside.

"It's crowded. But there's always room for everybody," said Wendy Winters of Eagle Mountain. "We come regularly."