Pioneer Park is about to get more funds from the city. Didn’t they just do that?


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Despite a widely recognized need for more park space downtown, the city is aiming for more money at Pioneer Park, a 10-acre square postage stamp in a long-standing neighborhood in transition in the downtown southwest. -city.

Pioneer Park has raised over $ 3 million in impact fees and budget sweeteners over the past few years, and is seeking an additional $ 2 million in $ 55 million bond for Mayor Erin’s investment projects Mendenhall this year.

The mayor’s wishlist for the bail was submitted to city council last week, and the heat of the impact has pushed the administration and officials back in a flurry of breakout meetings.

The mayors’ priorities for securing capital projects were sent to council at the end of October (page 154 of 175).

If the mayor’s staff thought the skates were greased for their January 4 city council briefing, the recent seat of two new council members on the west side likely disillusioned them with that notion.

Small-group negotiations (avoiding public meeting code requirements) appear to be continuing at City Hall. Despite a clock of rising construction and financing costs, no public briefing on the proposed $ 55 million bond (page 143 of 175) is scheduled for tomorrow’s city council meeting.

Why more money for Pioneer Park?

Between $ 300-400, 300-400W, Pioneer Park is called “the only park in the city center” by Public Lands Department staff.

It is by default – or by failure.

Since 2015, Salt Lake City has allocated funds for a new downtown park. Supported by city council, master plans, and new funds from Developer Impact Fees, nearly $ 3.5 million for additional downtown green space was spent on the acquisition of land.

But in 2017, under the Jackie Biskupski administration, the City had given up on acquiring new properties.

Kristen Riker, Director of the Public Lands Department, told us: “The SLC Public Lands team and SLC Real Estate Services were unable to secure the desirable property in this budget to add another park in the area. downtown to the urban core. “

Led by Riker, “the public lands team requested that council reallocate funding to focus on Pioneer Park.” The city council has given its consent.

She explained in an e-mail to BSL that “In 2017, at the height of our research, the RDA sites were not suitable for park-type uses, that is to say located in the center and accessible to homes. Competition in the public market with developers and private business owners pushed the City out of our budget at the time.

Ana Valdemoros, member of the region’s city council (D4), voted in favor of transferring funds for a new downtown park to reinvest in Pioneer Park.

Images of Pioneer Park courtesy of SLC Public Lands.

What will make Pioneer Park successful?

The park’s large lawn was completed in 2019 and removed 53 trees. According to Nancy Monteith, the landscape architect in charge of renovating the park, “as soon as the lawn was built, there was a demand.” The city planted 23 trees in a renovation that also built new sidewalks around the Great Lawn

The concerts under the heading of the Twilight series would attract 30,000 people to the park.

New plans envision a new stage that can open two directions and limit concert attendance to 10,000 per event.

The north side of the park, including renderings of the location of the new concert pavilion, which will include a ranger station, break rooms and a café, according to city plans. Photos by Luke Garrott.

The vision was to “open up the middle of the park, with a variety of uses along the edges,” says Monteith. These improvements were made with $ 550,000, including $ 300,000 from the Pioneer Park Coalition, a group of owners and business owners around the park.

She makes a compelling case that Pioneer Park needs additional investment. “$ 3 million invested in 30 years” is not enough to serve a growing downtown population.

Building Salt Lake has 2,043 apartments under construction, or starting construction within six months, just two blocks (¼ mile) from Pioneer Park.

Included in that number: The Post District, Silos on 5th, Next @ Rio Grande, The Olive, the Othodox Woodbury Greek Church development, The Rio and CINQ, all within two blocks

Over 2,000 new households arriving in the Pioneer Park neighborhood

The redesign of the park presented to the public for consideration this month is the result of extensive public awareness, the city said. Riker, Director of Public Lands, told us that “Public Lands engaged with nearly 3,000 people and stakeholders through in-person events and an online survey.”

When asked bluntly what Pioneer Park needs to be successful, Riker, Parks Manager, responded, “Once a park becomes relevant to the surrounding and larger community, a sense of ‘ownership’ and a commitment to the park are a natural outcome, and if there are a sufficient number of people using the park, they will begin to act as natural custodians to ensure informal social control.

Pioneer Park is at the center of these photos – from a rotating position of new housing developments around the park, – over 2,000 new homes that are currently under construction. Photos by Luke Garrott and Big Cloud.

No one will dispute the claim that more public green space is needed downtown. Is the solution to redesign and reinvest in an existing fleet?

Both the downtown and the Ballpark area meet the city’s “high need” criteria.

According to the director of Parks Riker, a “high needs area combines 1) population density, 2) household income, 3) young people, 4) the elderly and 5) areas of potential growth.

Salt Lake City is in the final stages of its city-wide parks master plan, called “Reimagining Nature,” which will provide meaningful direction to the needs of the city’s parks.

Regarding these inner city needs, RIker gave us some final, perhaps sobering, words on new real estate acquisitions.

“The priority for additional parks is located in the central community planning area and is looking for additional opportunities – such as the green loop using the public right-of-way and parts of the Fleet Block redevelopment downtown. “

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