Murray City's portion of the Provo-Jordan Parkway will connect residents with the natural world without endangering wildlife - or people.

The City Council Tuesday night voted to adopt their portion of the parkway master plan, with a series of amendments encouraged by a petition drive of more than 1,000 residents.Concerned parents opposed a portion of the plan calling for a nature interpretative center overlooking the wetlands at the end of Lucky Clover Lane. They also voiced written and vocal opposition to a 13-car, three-bus parking lot at the nature center.

Their greatest fear is that the proposed parkway access route would increase traffic by Horizon Elementary School, where three pedestrians have been struck by cars.

"Overall, we're feeling positive toward the parkway," Ronald J. Kunz, co-sponsor of the petition drive, told the council. "Our primary concerns are safety and serenity in the school zone and in the neighborhood areas."

The citizens recommended that access to the parkway be expanded at Riverside Drive and/or at 4800 South to accommodate buses, handicapped and elderly citizens, and children.

Facing more than 150 residents crowded in the chamber offices and hallway, council members voted unanimously to accept an amendment by Councilman P. Gary Ferrero to reject a proposed parking lot at the end of West Vine St. and to make cul-de-sacs of Clovercrest, West Vine St., Morning Dew Drive and Lucky Clover Lane.

Ferrero's amendment also called for the construction of fences in these areas to keep people out of the parkway. But the plan calls for the installation of crash gates to facilitate maintenance and emergency crews.

Several other amendments, geared to protecting the ecosystem as well as Murray residents, were adopted by the council.

Petition sponsors left the meeting satisfied and supportive of the parkway plan - even though the location and composition of the nature center remains an "open issue."

"The thing I appreciated was that Gary Ferrero was responsive, along with all the City Council," Kunz said. "They particularly answered our concerns on the traffic and safety issues. They were a responsive council, and I appreciated that they sincerely listened to our concerns."

Other residents still have reservations about the massive parkway plan. When developed, it will not only provide Murray residents with more than 2.3 miles of continuous open space linked together by a network of trails - but a host of recreational facilities, as well.

Picnic shelters, play equipment, boat docks, bike racks, tennis courts, exercise courses, a horse unloading facility and hitching rail, and a baseball complex are planned.

Many residents want to know who's going to foot the bill? Others want a timetable. When is the plan, initiated in the early 1970s, going to be completed, they asked?

"I wish I could say it will be done in five years, but I can't," responded Murray Mayor Lynn Pett, who helped spearhead the parkway plan. "It (progression of the parkway) depends on how quickly money becomes available. Murray citizens really control the development because they are are the ones who have the input on budgets."

But Pett is convinced that any money allocated will be spent.

"Open space has become a premium. The parkway will definitely improve the quality of life in our community," Pett said. "We strongly feel that our parks and recreation programs cut down on crime and vandalism. Rather than giving their kids a dollar and sending them off, parents will take time off from their busy schedules to participate in parks and recreation programs. It becomes a family activity."