Salt Lake City on Wednesday unveiled its newest park, located where three creeks meet the Jordan River on the west side.
Three Creeks Confluence Park was created in the Glendale neighborhood after unearthing Red Butte, Emigration and Parleys creeks, which had previously been channeled underground to tame nature and facilitate urban development in Utah’s capital.
At a news conference marking the park’s official opening, Mayor Erin Mendenhall called the space a “100-year vision.”
“It’s because we buried these creeks 100 years ago,” Mendenhall said, “and it’s going to take us 100 years to [fully] unbury them.”
Three Creeks Confluence Park marks the start of that unburying, an effort spearheaded by a group of college students in 2014. The movement spurred the creation of Seven Canyons Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring the Jordan River’s seven tributaries running through the Salt Lake Valley.
“There are riverwalks around the country,” said Kyle LaMalfa, a former City Council member from the west side and current chair of the Seven Canyons Trust (and Mendenhall’s spouse). “But we’ve got something they can’t even touch, which is a string of nature along our river corridor — places where you can stop for a moment and forget that you’re in a city.”
The new park, located on the Jordan River Parkway at 950 W. 1300 South, is the latest gem on the river’s strand of green space.
Officials called the $3 million city-funded project an important link connecting the city’s east- and west-side communities.
Council member Dennis Faris, who represents neighborhoods like Glendale and Poplar Grove, thanked the mayor for her initiative to invest in the west side, “as well as finishing a space like this that rivals any space in the city.”
The space was previously riddled with trash, abandoned cars and a burned-down house. A large pipe dumped water from the three creeks into the river. Now, with the creeks seeing daylight again, the park includes bridges, banks to fish or enjoy the water, as well as a play area with repurposed logs from the many old trees downed by last year’s hurricane-force windstorm.
“I’m just really excited to be able to explore this area,” Faris said, “and experience what we’ve built here.”
The new park will play host to a grand opening celebration Friday with live music, beer, food trucks, a Native American dance and drum performance, and other activities from 5 to 9 p.m. For more information, visit sevencanyonstrust.org.