City Creek Daylighting Plans Could Expand West Roadways and Recreational Spaces

The freshly paved Folsom Trail is a great start, but the city aims to resurface City Creek, create gathering spaces, and connect it to the Jordan River Parkway.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The City Creek resurfacing project would add water and collection amenities to Folsom Trail, pictured Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, near downtown Salt Lake City, which will connect at the Jordan River Parkway Trail.

The pavement on the tracks of the old Folsom Railroad may be fresh, but there’s still a long way to go to realize Salt Lake City’s decades-long vision for the West Side area.

For one, the portion of City Creek that lies beneath Folsom could see the light of day as the city explores how to incorporate water and more gathering spaces along the North Temple-Poplar Grove road.

The project that the Redevelopment Agency and the Seven Canyons Trust have in mind aims to not only resurface the creek, but also provide community attractions, a request that is high on the West Side’s wish lists.

“We imagine the canal will be about 8 feet wide surrounded by priority public amenities for the community,” said Lauren Parisi, project manager for the city’s RDA. “However, we are still in the process of completing an environmental scan and gathering public feedback that will influence the final design.”

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

The city hopes to have the design plan completed by next summer. Sources of funding remain undetermined, but the project is included in the proposed general obligation link that appears on the ballot this fall. If approved, the money would help develop and expand the trail.

For the Poplar Grove neighborhood, the trail is a new paved development, where cyclists can ride and pedestrians can stroll – away from cars – on their way from the North Temple FrontRunner station to 1000 West.

For the city and the Seven Canyons Trust, this is just the start of a long-term vision. One of the big goals is for the trail to extend to the Jordan River promenade, expanding the alternatives for east-west connections.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The City Creek resurfacing project would add water and collection amenities to Folsom Trail, pictured Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, near downtown Salt Lake City, which will connect at the Jordan River Parkway Trail.

“This corridor is a really, really critical east-west connection between the west side neighborhoods and the Jordan River Trail,” said Brian Tonetti, executive director of the Seven Canyons Trust, pointing out that Folsom would provide access – on foot and by public transport. common – to a 45-mile system stretching from Ogden to Provo. “On top of that, I think the City Creek Canal brings convenience, unlike anything we have in Salt Lake City, to this neighborhood.”

The project, Tonetti said, is also an essential part of the centennial plan of the seven green ways, which aims to discover and restore the seven main tributaries of the Jordan. It is under this regional plan that Three Creeks Confluence Park opened last year in the Glendale neighborhood.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Three Creeks Confluence Park opened in July 2021 in the Glendale neighborhood.

Completion of the Folsom project is a few years away, but the community can get involved in shaping it now by explaining how this area could turn into the walkable and safe community space featured in a 1992 plan.

A city survey asks residents about various amenities, including a boardwalk, clubhouse, workout stations, traditional play spaces, dog park, plaza and splash pool.

This should be a big change from the abandoned rail corridor that dominated the area until June 2022, when the city completed paved construction of the Folsom Trail. It could also be part of a series of incoming spaces that enhance the quality of life on the west side.

For Poplar Grove Community Council Leader Esther Stowell, completing the Folsom Trail would provide a much-needed path to the hidden natural beauties of the West Side that are too often missed by the rest of the city. She said it also represents progress towards those long-desired east-west connections.

“A trail like this will provide access for residents who want to venture out to enjoy the Jordan River Trail, Fife Bird Sanctuary. [near Jordan Park]or our bike and skate park,” Stowell said, “all hidden gems that are often overlooked by the stigmatized lens used to view the West Side.

Alixel Cabrera is a Report for America member of the corps and writes about the status of communities on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley for the Salt Lake Tribune. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps him keep writing stories like this; please consider making a tax deductible donation of any amount today by clicking here.

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