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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Salt Lake City approves millions to improve Pioneer Park, other public spaces

By Graham Dudley, KSL.com | Posted - Aug 29th, 2019 @ 6:01am



SALT LAKE CITY — Though Tuesday’s meeting of the Salt Lake City Council was dominated by discussion of tax incentives connected to the Utah Inland Port, the council also adopted $34.5 million in funding for citywide community projects through the city’s Capital Improvement Program.

The funding includes allocations for Pioneer Park upgrades, the Seven Canyons Fountain in Liberty Park, greater accessibility to Wasatch Hollow Park, and the redevelopment of the historic Fisher Carriage House.

About $21 million of the allocations will be used for upgrades; the rest is for bonds and debt repayment.

City Council Chair Charlie Luke said the Capital Improvement Program is an annual initiative that accepts ideas from the community to give attention where it’s needed most.

“The thing that’s great about our CIP process,” Luke said, “is it really does create an opportunity for neighborhoods to work together on community applications.” For example, he said, the $490,830 set aside for Wasatch Hollow will improve accessibility to the park by increasing the number of entrances from one to three.

“It will really open that up and become a much more community-driven asset,” Luke said.

One of the biggest expenditures on the list is $3,445,000 for Pioneer Park improvements, but the specifics are not yet settled — the program’s summary calls for “public engagement” and potentially a public-private partnership to assist in the allocation of the funds over the next year.

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The Fisher Carriage House will receive $1,098,764 from the Capital Improvement Program and an additional $297,230 from Chevron, a donation made as part of negotiations over the 2010 Red Butte Creek oil spill. The city intends to turn the historic property, built in 1893 for prominent brewer Albert Fisher, into a nature center.

The city will use about $858,000 to address health and safety code issues at Liberty Park’s Seven Canyons Fountain, allowing it to partially reopen to the public. The feature, frequently used for wading, closed in 2017 due to unclean water.

Luke said the city council this year was able to go through and secure money for some originally unfunded applications in the Capital Improvement Program, like the Wasatch Hollow upgrades.

In all, more than 30 projects received city funds, including for signage in the Yalecrest Historic District; bridge maintenance; street repairs; a community orchard; and improvements to McClelland Street and the McClelland Trail.

“That’s the whole purpose of CIP. It’s creating those opportunities where, if there’s an issue bothering a neighborhood … there’s a process they can go through,” Luke said. “It really is a community-driven process and one that I particularly enjoy being a part of, because it does touch so many people.”

A complete breakdown of Capital Improvement Project funding can be found here.

Funds from the Capital Improvement Program are available for projects that improve public property, cost $50,000 or more, and have a service life of five or more years. Applications to be considered for next year’s allocations can be found here; they are due Sept. 27.

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Graham Dudley

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