SALT LAKE CITY — A $150 million bond proposal to develop and expand parks, trails and open spaces around Salt Lake City will not appear on the November ballot.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Mayor Ralph Becker said he is committed to making the “Connecting You to Nature” plan a reality, but now is not the right time to do it.
“Several factors stand in the way of the bond’s success this year. As I’ve been walking through neighborhoods and talking with residents, I’ve heard concerns about the size of the bond, the relatively quick speed at which we’ve moved to create a compelling proposal, the fact that other election issues may make it difficult to sufficiently educate voters, and how this ballot measure could affect other proposals, such as the countywide transportation initiative,” Becker said in the statement.
The “Connecting You to Nature” plan, as written, would repurpose the Glendale and Jordan River golf courses into parks, improve and expand downtown parks, connect biking trails and improve recreation opportunities along the Jordan River.
But Becker said more time is needed to work with residents and the City Council to develop a better plan and to look for alternate sources of funding.
Read the full statement from Mayor Becker’s Office:
Statement from Mayor Becker on Proposed Parks, Trails and Open Space Bond
“After listening and considering input from the community, the City Council, Salt Lake County officials and others, I’m convinced that a parks, trails and open space bond is the right thing to do, but now is the not the right time to do it.”
“The Connecting You to Nature proposal represents an amazing opportunity to create parks and recreation experiences a city on the rise deserves, and I remain committed to making this opportunity a reality. Unlocking the potential of the Jordan River, creating more and better trails in our foothills, and better connecting City neighborhoods to our outdoor environment are all key parts of the vision we’ve been working on for the past eight years to make Salt Lake City the best place to live, work and play in the country.”
“Several factors stand in the way of the bond’s success this year. As I’ve been walking through neighborhoods and talking with residents, I’ve heard concerns about the size of the bond, the relatively quick speed at which we’ve moved to create a compelling proposal, the fact that other election issues may make it difficult to sufficiently educate voters, and how this ballot measure could affect other proposals, such as the countywide transportation initiative.”
“Given all those concerns, it’s best that we take more time, further engage the community and work closely with Council Members to develop an even better proposal. We’ll also be looking for alternate sources of funding that may help meet our needs, such as potential revenue from the proposed transportation measure and ZAP funds. A parks, trails and open space bond proposal should be pursued for voter consideration.”
“When I came into office, we overhauled a failed referendum to bond for a new Public Safety Building through a thorough analysis and public process. We took the time to make sure the public understood the need for, and benefits of, that project and brought forth a new proposal with less impact on property taxpayers. The same approach, with more time, can result in a remarkable improvement of recreational opportunities for Salt Lake City and regional residents and visitors.”