Plans for a family-oriented park on 25.8 acres of land along the Jordan River at 11000 South have been approved by the South Jordan City Council.

Work could begin in the spring with construction of an access bridge costing between $40,000 and $60,000, said City Administrator Richard Warne. "After that, we'll try to do a little each year - whatever we can afford."Tentatively named Jordan River Park, the new park eventually will have baseball diamonds, tennis courts, a skating pond, picnic areas and other recreational facilities.

The state transferred the park land to South Jordan in exchange for an agreement by the city to make at least $161,000 worth of improvements over the next 10 years. The park is intended to be part of the Jordan River Parkway system.

"We're preparing for a population in South Jordan of over 50,000 people, and we must begin now to develop our parks," Warne said.

The city's parks and recreation master plan calls for early emphasis on development "while prime park land is available and can be acquired at reasonable prices."

South Jordan is fortunate in that respect, Warne said, because so much of its land is undeveloped and relatively inexpensive. The city currently owns about 150 acres of potential park land.

To develop those parks, the master plan suggests a steady and long-term financial commitment involving annual appropriations to the recreation program.

The Jordan River offers particularly attractive areas for parks because flood plain restrictions exclude most residential and commercial development, Warne explained.

The master plan also suggests that the community's four major canals have the potential of becoming unique open-space corridors. "These canals offer an exciting opportunity to develop pedestrian circulation throughout the city without having to contend with vehicular traffic and could link parks throughout the city."

Warne said South Jordan plans to develop three types of parks ranging in size from 10 acres to 100 acres. It also hopes to work with Salt Lake County to eventually transform the Welby Gravel pit on the Bingham Highway at the west edge of town into a 135-acre regional park.

Other plans include working with the county on development of the equestrian park; working with Sandy to develop an 18-hole golf course along the Jordan River; and working with West Jordan to use the Bingham Creek channel - after it is cleared of contamination - for recreational purposes.