As temperatures climb and summertime activities heat up, Utahns look to parks for recreation and relief.
And West Valley City soon will open a much-anticipated bike park and a couple of neighborhood parks, featuring a range of amenities.
Bringing new parks on line isn’t easy. Two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities encounter challenges and delays from supply chain issues. Rising prices for those supplies and labor also come into play.
“The cost of everything has gone up quite a bit over the last couple of years,” said Nancy Day, West Valley City’s Parks and Recreation director. “And we’ve seen it even more so in the last six months.”
About three years ago, the cost of a standard park with typical amenities was around $350,000 an acre, Day explained. That price has jumped to $600,000.
Utah’s second most-populous city has had to adjust to deliver parks in response to frequent asks from residents. The department now obtains equipment before awarding contracts to builders, and avoids markups by acquiring supplies with no intermediaries, she said. The city also has asked park maintenance staffers to put extra work into caring for smaller parks and trailheads.
“The hard part with that is that it takes them away from their job of maintaining the other parks,” Day said. “So it’s a little bit of a balancing act.”
Despite all this, the city hasn’t stopped its park plans, which are poised to bear fruit. Here are three parks set to open this year.
Bike park in Centennial Park
The final phase of Centennial Park comes to life this year as its bike park rolls out. It is on the corner of 5600 West and 3100 South, just north of the West Valley Skatepark.
A team from American Ramp Co., a Missouri-based developer of action-sports facilities, is traveling to West Valley City to start construction in late May or early June.
The city expects this park, budgeted at $1.2 million, to be ready by this fall, just in time for the last months of the bike season.
Riders can expect tunnels, various ramps, asphalt and wood circuits with humps and curves to jump, roll and drop. These attractions are additions to the skate park and bike pump track that Centennial Park hosts.
“This bike park will help alleviate some congestion at the skate park,” the Parks and Recreation Department told the City Council, “and will add additional elements that would increase the draw to the skate park from users of all skill levels”
The site will also house a detention basin for stormwater.
Grasmere Park is a small neighborhood park — located on 1 acre at 3900 S. Grasmere Lane, east of Redwood Road.
After some weather-related delays during construction, a ribbon-cutting ceremony might be on its way in June.
The park includes a playground, pavilion, exercise equipment, concrete table tennis, cornhole, a small grassy area and a walking track.
“Even though it’s 1 acre,” Day said, “we still feel like it’s going to be a great amenity for the neighborhood.”
Rocky Ridge Park
West Valley City is already working on Rocky Ridge Park at 5200 S. Summer Ridge Drive (about 5700 West).
The city expects this 1.4-acre neighborhood park to be ready by September or October.
This park features special topography. Most West Valley City parks are flat, but Rocky Ridge — true to its name — has a small, narrow slope in the southwest corner, coming down from Rocky Ridge Drive. It will have a winding walkway and a ground-level slide.
The park also will include a playground with swings and a concrete cornhole, a walking track, a small pavilion, a half basketball court, and some exercise equipment spaced out in a couple of locations.
“A number of people wanted to see parking there. But we don’t do parking for the smaller neighborhood parks, because they’re really meant for the people that live in close proximity,” Day said. “And it would take up way too much of the park to do that.”
Alixel Cabrera is a Report for America corps member 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 keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by clicking here.