The Future of Sugar House Park’s Pond
Aug 14, 2015 10h30
● By Bryan Scott
By Nathan Turner
The Sugar House Park Authority is faced with the dilemma of what to do with the pond at Sugar House Park. They are currently asking for public feedback through a survey on their website to determine the best direction for the park.
The 110.5 acre park is considered to be the crown jewel of the neighborhood by many members of the Sugar House Community Council and the Sugar House Park Authority. However, the pond on the western half of the park has proven to be expensive to operate, costing $300,000 every year to dredge the pond.
“They want a solution that works for the park, works for the users, works for the department of environmental health,” Amy Barry, the chair of the community council, said about the pond. “I think they are just really trying to gather input to see what people want their park to be.”
The best solution, according to Barry, would be to have Sugar House Park included in the Salt Lake City Parks bond, which will be voted on at the City and County Building on Aug. 18.
“If it does get put into the parks bond as one of the projects, they will probably still have to go and find some money from Salt Lake County to match the bond,” Barry said.
The Sugar House Park Authority has presented two possible solutions to the pond problem on their survey. The first is a plan to dramatically decrease the size of the pond to save money on dredging, while the second plan would remove the pond entirely from the park.
Barry said that if they decided to remove the pond entirely they would have to put in a retention area because 1300 East is a registered dam. Parley’s Creek, which runs through the park, would replace the pond as the park’s central nature feature.
If removed, the Sugar House Park Authority would save more money than they would if they simply reduced the size of the pond. The pond would also be replaced with a wildflower meadow, according to the survey’s masterplan, and the creek would be diverted around the exterior part of the pond’s area rather than flowing underground as it does now.
Native wild trees and other flora would be planted around Parley’s Creek and a walking trail would also be installed around the meadow.
Barry said that the parks bond has to be finalized on Aug. 18 to go to the County Clerk’s office to be on the November election ballot. The City Council will take a vote that night to determine the future of the bond. Barry said that there will be public comment allowed at the meeting, but at that point it is virtually too late.
“We have a lot of projects and maintenance issues in our parks here,” Barry said. “I’d rather see some of those projects get finish all across the city – let’s fix what we have.”
Since the Sugar House Park Authority is a non-profit organization which receives funds from the city and county every year, Barry said that the idea of saving $300,000 per year would dramatically impact the upkeep of the park.
“The only funding they get is for upkeep and maintenance [and] it’s really not enough to do what needs to be done. They really want to find a way to not have to come up with $300,000 every year,” Barry said.