At last, a ‘Liberty Park’ for Salt Lake City’s west side: What will it have?

Glendale Regional Park will feature a pool, of course, to replace Raging Waters, but it will include so much more.

(Design Workshop | Salt Lake City) Rendering of features included on the Glendale Regional Park Vision.

Salt Lake City’s big regional park planned for the Glendale neighborhood is sure to make a splash with west-siders.

Why? Because, for starters, it will include a pool.

“An outdoor pool was probably ranked highest from the community as to an amenity that they wanted to see there,” Kat Maus, public lands planner for the city, said Monday, “so we’ve incorporated that, along with some water-play features.”

It’s hardly a surprise, given that the area had been home to Raging Waters (at times called Wild Wave and Seven Peaks), a wildly popular water park that fell into disrepair and shut down in 2018.

But the much-anticipated Glendale Regional Park will offer plenty more to young and old alike — all an outgrowth of a sweeping community-engagement effort.

Because the park would be next to the Jordan River, the final vision — if approved by the planning commission and City Council — calls for a boardwalk, beach and sand volleyball, along with potential access to the river through docks for kayaks

(Design Workshop | Salt Lake City) Rendering of features included on the Glendale Regional Park Vision.

Also included will be hiking and biking trails, basketball and pickleball courts, a playground, a skating ribbon, a sledding hill, a community plaza, a food truck court, even a dog park.

Residents also desired event spaces, so the city incorporated a lawn with a flex stage into the plan.

For some community members, the planned park is a testament to what can happen when the city reaches out to discover what residents want.

“One of the things about the west side that is so remarkable is how diverse and how powerful all of the different communities that make up the west side are,” said Turner Bitton, chair of the Glendale Neighborhood Council. “What we often lack is a physical space to gather to celebrate our cultural festivals.”

Bitton expects the park to be a hit.

“Everyone on the west side is going to benefit from this, regardless of their age, regardless of their ability or background,” he said. “This is going to be a space that we can all share and celebrate our community together.”

(Design Workshop | Salt Lake City) Rendering of features included on the Glendale Regional Park Vision.

The transformation of 17 city-owned acres at 1700 South and 1200 West already is underway, with a demolition crew clearing out the old water park. Along with Glendale Park, 17th South River Park and the Glendale Golf Course, the overall space would rival that of the city’s showcase Liberty Park.

Completing such a large project, however, depends on the availability of resources.

“The full build-out for the park is very substantial,” Maus said. “So it will take quite a bit of time, and it really depends on the funding allocations that we get and how many phases that we have to incorporate into the park implementation.”

The master plan includes environmental and transportation recommendations the city could take into account while working on the park.

(Design Workshop | Salt Lake City) Rendering of features included on the Glendale Regional Park Vision.

For instance, city departments recommended improvement of rail and bus service in the area. Workers may also build additional connections to the 17th South River Park and the Glendale Golf Course. There also is a proposed bridge to link the park to the Jordan River Trail.

The master plan includes programs for the park such as artistic performances, concessions, swimming or skateboarding lessons, community festivals and dog-owner socials.

Phase one is already funded and expected to open in April 2024. It would include an all–ages, all-abilities playground, some pathways tying the new park to a current neighborhood park, a community pavilion and lawn space.

If voters approve an $85 million bond this fall, with $27 million going to Glendale Regional Park, the whole thing would be built faster and in fewer phases.

“The completion of this project is a really high priority for the city. So we are extremely excited to see this moving forward,” Maus said. “And are very pleased and excited with the feedback that we’ve heard so far from the Glendale and citywide community.”

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.