New park springs to life. It will become the largest in Salt Lake County.

South Jordan’s Bingham Creek Regional Park will be 160 acres when completed, but there’s already a lot to do there.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Children play at Bingham Creek Regional Park in South Jordan on Thursday, June 22, 2023.

South Jordan • This growing city in southwestern Salt Lake County has distinguished itself with a number of headline-grabbing developments.

It hosts Daybreak, for instance, the still booming and still blossoming master–planned community that continues to inspire similar projects in Utah. In a couple of years, it will also become the new home of the Salt Lake Bees baseball team.

South Jordan added a new milestone to its tally Thursday with the debut of what will become the 160-acre Bingham Creek Regional Park, the county’s largest manicured park.

To bring it about, Salt Lake County, the Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) program, and South Jordan chipped in $18 million to fund the first phase at 10200 South 4800 West.

Once a gravel quarry, the site went through three years of development to finally open. But the idea has been in the county’s plans for over 20 years, according to county parks boss Martin Jensen.

“If any of you have seen the TV show ‘Parks and Recreation,’ the very first episode they joke about turning an old pit into a park,” he said, “and that’s exactly what we have done here.”

The place features a playground, where kids of all abilities can climb, swing and slide; six soccer or lacrosse fields; a bike track; pavilion; restrooms; and miles of walking trails.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bingham Creek Regional Park in South Jordan on Thursday, June 22, 2023.

The turf still needs some time to grow and get established, so the sports fields are not yet ready for play. But they will be next year, along with an 18-hole disc golf course.

In the future, Jensen and his team envision a “Sugar House Park of the west,” with potentially a larger playground, a splash pad, a synthetic turf field surrounded by seating for championships, along with tennis and pickleball courts.

“We did a lot of work in preparation to convert it from the old county Public Works grounds into a park,” he said. “And so we spent a lot of money moving dirt and doing some remediation work to prepare for the future phases.”

Though it took more than 20 years to transform the pit and see the first 65 acres come on line, Jensen said, the next phases probably will come quicker.

ZAP, which voters must approve every 10 years, put up $13 million to pay for the current amenities. As the county prepares to divvy up program funds in 2026 — provided ZAP is extended — that may provide an opportunity, Jensen said, to fund the next phase.

A walking distance amenity for Daybreak

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Children play at Bingham Creek Regional Park in South Jordan on Thursday, June 22, 2023.

During Thursday’s opening ceremony, kids from Mountain Creek Middle School buried a time capsule with a school T-shirt and mementos of today’s fashion and slang.

Benja Kirk walked around 10 minutes from her Daybreak home with her grandkids to try out the playground. It’s “exciting,” she says, especially since her 22-month-old grandson didn’t seem intimidated by the equipment.

“I have five grandkids in Daybreak,” she said, and although the fields won’t host any sports soon, it’s good enough to practice a few drills, which will suit her older grandchildren. “All of my grandkids are soccer players and have been for years and this will be nice.”

A new beginning for the southwest

Located in the county’s southwestern region, the park will become an important connector to the Butterfield and Jordan River trails.

“I can only imagine,” county Mayor Jenny Wilson said, “in a few years to be able to come back and look at the park when it’s completely finished and how exciting that day will be.”

Wilson said views of the towering Wasatch Mountains and all of the park’s connectivity possibilities are exciting. “The reason why I love living in Utah,” she added, “is exactly this.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mayor Dawn Ramsey cuts the ribbon with other dignitaries at the opening of the Bingham Creek Regional Park in South Jordan on Thursday, June 22, 2023.

Officers from South Jordan and the county will oversee the park, South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey said. Their goal is to ensure that this regional park becomes a truly regional destination.

Though the park is still evolving, Ramsey asked patrons to enjoy the fruits of this decadeslong effort.

“Join the regional trail system. Embark from here and take part in the incredible outdoor opportunities that exist here,” she said. “As we continue to grow in this part of the valley … protecting this open space and preserving these outdoor amenities and creating spaces where we can live and breathe and play and recreate … is critical.”

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.