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John Daley ReportingUnlike some cities, Salt Lake does not have vast expanses of green space in its downtown. But starting Saturday it'll be celebrating the opening of four acres of prime parkland.
All day today construction workers have been busy putting the finishing touches on a new park, located just east of the new library. The key element is a 76-foot long bridge that was hoisted into place this morning.
Suffice it to say, the block east of the City and County Building is undergoing a dramatic transformation. First light rail was put in. Then the new library, an innovative architectural achievement, was built. And now the new Library Common, a four acre park, is set to open complete with a paved plaza, rolling hills and a grand bridge.
DJ Baxter, Senior Advisor to Mayor: "The bridge is 76-foot span, galvanized steel bridge that was custom fabricated for this project and dipped all at once in a single galvanizing solution.”
And to think this city block once just had several imposing, impersonal government buildings. The new, fully accessible park boasts a number of welcoming features: a 100-tree promenade, low-water demonstration gardens, a great lawn climbing up the back side of the library's sweeping wall that will seat 3500 people for concerts, and by next spring a monument to organ donation.
Total cost: 4.6 million dollars--a million coming from a library bond and three and half million from one-time surplus Olympic funds. The new library has won rave reviews and so is the park.
Alexis Rausch, Salt Lake City Resident: "I'm going to come to this park after I finish checking out some books."
Michael Fairbanks, Salt Lake City Resident: "I'd give it a ten. I love the architecture. I come to the library a lot and it's nice to have some green."
Wendy Bridges, Salt Lake City Resident: "I think we all should be really proud of it."
DJ Baxter, Senior Advisor to Mayor: "These things take a long time to complete, but when they are completed we can see what a tremendous asset they are to the community."
There will be a free Family Fall Festival on Saturday to celebrate the opening of the new park. It will include plenty of activities for kids: live music, a ribbon cutting at 1:00 p.m., and the architect of this high-acclaimed library will be speaking Saturday night inside the auditorium.