City agrees to use unallocated funds to finish parks

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WEST JORDAN -- The City of West Jordan is finally moving forward on funding parks that have been left unfinished for years, thanks to two residents who lobbied the city council on where to use its unallocated funds.

The uncompleted Oaks East Park near 8200 South and 6100 West is nowhere for kids to be playing. In fact, it gets downright dangerous after it rains.

"The water was really high, and there were two kids standing in knee-deep water poking at the grates," said nearby resident Michele Howey.

"We worry about the safety of the kids," said Dorthy Ryan, who also lives close to the park.

Michele Howey and Dorthy Ryan
Michele Howey and Dorthy Ryan

Howey and Ryan were tired of the nothingness.

"This park has been in the works for years," Ryan said.

Not only did they fear for their kids safety, the empty land has ruining Ryan's yard. The empty land floods, and it all flows into her landscaping.

"The part of the driveway has begun to sink," Ryan said.

So, when these two women heard West Jordan City had $3.5 million to spend, they took pictures of the park to a council meeting.

"They came, and they were very articulate and they made their case as to why they needed that park finished. And I think they won the council's support," said West Jordan City Councilman Lyle Summers.

"They were anxious to help, and we're just very pleased about that," Ryan said.

Here's where the money comes from: In 2004, a $4 million bond was passed by voters to buy open land, but the city has only used half a million.

"The money's been sitting in the bank drawing interest," Summer said.

After hearing these women's story and concerns, the council agreed to spend half of the remaining $3.5 million to finish and improve parks in several neighborhoods; top priority will be Oaks East Park.

Soon, all the kids in the neighborhood will have a new place to play without fears of standing water and flooding.

It was nice for Howey and Ryan to know that their representatives listened.

"It was a victory. It was a huge victory!" Howey said.

West Jordan's city council still must determine how to distribute the money between the unfinished parks. Council members plan to do that in August.


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