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Voters approve $47 million bond for S.L. County parks, trails

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 6:41 p.m. MDT

Clay Dean-Perry begins his jog on the Parley's Trail in Tanner Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov.1, 2012.  A section of the trail ends at the yellow cement barrier.   (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Clay Dean-Perry begins his jog on the Parley's Trail in Tanner Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov.1, 2012. A section of the trail ends at the yellow cement barrier. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County residents approved a $47 million general obligation bond Tuesday to fund construction of three regional parks, substantial completion of two major trails and purchase land in Magna for a future park.

Proposition 1 passed 56 percent to 44 percent, according to final but unofficial results.

While some people refer to the trail and parks bond as Salt Lake County Mayor Corroon's legacy, he says it's an investment in the county's future recreational needs.

"My legacy, hopefully, is leaving a good government in place," he said.

Corroon said he frequently hears from his parks and recreation staff about sports leagues that approach the county because they have no place to play.

"Our citizens say they love our parks and they want to see the Jordan River Parkway and Parleys Trail completed," he said.

In approving Proposition 1, voters agreed to a small property tax increase over the 20-year life of bond, $5.73 a year on a residence valued at $238,000 or $10.24 on commercial property of the same value.

The bond proceeds will be used to substantially complete the Jordan River Parkway and Parleys trails; develop regional parks in Bluffdale, Draper and West Valley City/Kearns; and purchase land for a planned park in Magna.

Proposition 1 cruised to an easy victory despite opposition from the Utah Taxpayers Association, which objected to the development of new parks and trails when the county has millions of dollars of deferred maintenance for existing facilities.

"We're disappointed. The county never did give any explanation how they're going to eliminate the deferred maintenance that exists. Our hope is the county will be able to take care of these new parks as well as the existing ones and avoid a tax hike," said Royce Van Tassell, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association.

Corroon has said he has been working with the County Council to work through the to-do list. Corroon has earmarked funds for deferred maintenance in the budget he will formally propose to the County Council next week.

The proposal approved by voters was an austere version of a $110 million bond Corroon proposed to the Salt Lake County Council in 2011. The council refused to place the question on the ballot, citing concerns about the bond's size, the sputtering economy and teeming deferred maintenance costs at existing county facilities. However, the County Council voted unanimously to place the $47 million question on the general election ballot.

PARKS AND TRAILS BOND PROJECTS

Jordan River Parkway Trail — $11.5 million

Substantial completion of 45-mile paved, non-motorized pathway between Davis and Utah counties.

Parleys Trail — $9 million

Substantial completion of eight-mile paved, non-motorized regional connection between Jordan River Parkway Trail and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.

Magna Regional Park — $5.5 million

Bond will allow Salt Lake County to purchase 60 acres for master-planned regional park. Park amenities will be developed later with a separate appropriation.

Wheadon Farm Park — $6 million

Planned for 64 acres at 440 E. 13800 South, Draper. Master plan calls for "historical agricultural theme park" that would include urban farming, pavilions, restrooms, children's playground, open field activity areas, multipurpose sports fields, natural areas, and hard and soft trails.

Lodestone Regional Park — $5 million

Planned for 62 acres at 6170 W. Lodestone Ave. (5990 South) in Kearns and West Valley City. The bond would fund further development of the park, including multipurpose sports fields, informal ball diamonds, pavilions, restrooms, a tennis court, basketball courts, regional-size playground, splash pad, walking/exercise paths and parking.

Southwest Regional Park — $10 million

Planned for 80 acres at 14000 South and 2700 West, Bluffdale. Amenities would include regional size playground, open lawn areas, water splash pad, multipurpose sports fields, walking/exercise paths, pavilions, restroom, tennis courts, basketball court and parking.

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