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Riverton residents upset over destruction of markers at park

Published: Wednesday, July 2 2014 6:33 p.m. MDT

Residents in Riverton are upset after two historical markers were demolished during a construction project. All that is left of the markers from the Sons and Daughters of Utah Pioneers is debris on the side of the road. The plaques were preserved. The city said it plans to construct better quality markers and place them prominently when the new project is complete.

Langford Lloyd, Riverton Historical Society

RIVERTON — Two markers from the Sons and Daughters of Utah Pioneers at Riverton Park were demolished, not by vandals but by the city.

Several residents, including Derrick Brooks, say it’s a shame no one was notified before the monuments that were at the park for more than 25 years were knocked down.

“(City officials) just don't care about the people right now,” said Brooks, the former chairman of the Riverton Museum. “They're spending all this money on these huge bonds. I don't know why. … There were problems with the sewer and concession stands, but (the markers) could have been saved."

"That's just kind of hard to stomach,” added Ralph Winberg, who lives across the street from the old park. “That's something that you're used to seeing in here, and it worked out very nicely, and there's nothing wrong with it."

In 1980, the Daughters of Utah Pioneers put up a marker for the Riverton Tithing Yard Hill. In 1984, the Sons of Utah Pioneers erected a marker to commemorate early Riverton and the Magnificent Dome Church. Both markers were in Riverton City Park, 1150 W. 12400 S.

When the city started paving the way for the future, the past had to come down. Brooks said he was told the marker wouldn’t fit the remodel.

“And I thought, 'You have that old Dome Church. That’s our state symbol. How can that not be used somewhere?' It's crazy to think these couldn't have been saved," he said. "It's just that no one cares to listen to the people right now in Riverton city."

The city’s motto is "Peace, Progress and Tradition," but Brooks says the pile of rocks and bricks left behind isn’t any part of that motto.

“Well, right now, there’s no peace, we're losing our tradition, and I don’t know that this is progress,” Brooks said.

Riverton spokesman Jeff Hawker said in a written statement the city is working on a major project that involves the complete redesign and reconstruction of the city’s main park.

“Practical design constraints, including the location of a new pavilion, required the relocation of two historical markers,” Hawker said. “One of these markers was sponsored by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and the other by the Sons of the Utah Pioneers. The markers contain information about the history of the Riverton area.”

He went on to say that both organizations were contacted, and neither requested possession of the plaques or offered instructions or requests regarding the markers.

The plaques were removed from the stone mounting surface. The city plans to clean them, restore them and store them at City Hall, Hawker said.

The city also plans to create and prominently display higher quality and more durable versions of the markers, he said.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

Email: acabrero@deseretnews.com

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