Mayor Becker proposes ‘Connecting You To Nature’ plan to link parks, trail systems

Posted at 9:37 PM, Jul 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-08 23:37:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Mayor Ralph Becker wants to connect many of the parks in the Salt Lake Valley with a trail system, and the idea comes after the city's decision to close the Glendale Golf Course and the Jordan River Par-3 course.

The $150 million bond proposal would appear on the November ballot, and it would cost taxpayers about $61 to $74 per year on residential property valued at $273,000.

“This is a game changer, this is a big proposal that we’re really excited to see Salt Lake City move to the next level,” said Nichol Bourdeaux, who is the deputy chief of staff for the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office.

Becker’s plan includes converting Glendale Golf Course into a regional park with water-oriented activities, mountain biking trails and an entertainment and festival area.

The Jordan River Par-3 course would become a nature park with boardwalks and access to the river and a nature center.

An added "nine line" extension trail would create an east-west connection from Immigration Canyon to the Jordan River Parkway.

“Another major component of the trail system is our Bonneville Shoreline,” Bourdeaux said. “We're looking to add 30 miles of added trail, looking to add amenities like parking, trail heads.”

Revitalizing the Jordan River and bringing nature to the city are two other major components of the plan.

“It’s all framed from residential input, I mean, we went out and we've looked at master plans that have had over 3,000 comments from the past 23 years and really laid the framework for moving forward,” Bourdeaux said.

Jackie Biskupski, one of Becker's opponents in the 2015 mayoral race, said she supports preserving open space but thinks the plan is too pricey.

“So people should question this amount because, again, it started at 30 million and now we're up to 150,” Biskupski said. “Yes, we want to preserve open space, but can we do it in a much more rational approach that is less hard for those of us who are on a fixed income or a low-income trying to make ends meet?”

City Councilman Luke Garrot, who represents District 4, is also running for mayor, and he said public input on the plan is what matters most.

“I’m personally in support of putting it on the ballot and letting the voters decide,” he said.

Becker will present the proposal to the city council at its meeting on July 21.

The city council will continue to seek feedback from the community before it decides whether to place the bond on the November ballot at its August 18 meeting.

Click here for a detailed look at the proposal.