Salt Lake City and LDS Church officials are negotiating a possible extension of the city's Memory Grove to connect the park to downtown.
Mayor Palmer DePaulis said he hopes appraisals of rights to underground property at the north end of Main Street will be completed this summer. The appraisals are part of a potential trade with the church for two parking lots near Second Avenue and State Street.If the trade works, the city would remake the parking lots into park land and align them so pedestrians could walk from Memory Grove to the Church Office Building block and then to Main Street, DePaulis said.
The mayor said trading rights to land beneath the north end of Main Street would allow the church to expand existing underground parking.
Details of the plan have been in the works about two years, but extending Memory Grove is the last unfinished recommendation of 11 first made in the seminal 1962 Second Century Plan, city planner Doug Dansie said.
It was recommended again in a 1988 study by the American Institute of Architects' Regional-Urban Design Assistance Team on ways to revitalize the city's downtown.
DePaulis said the trade with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints might be accomplished as early as the end of this summer. He said the project could be finished within three years.
City planners and church officials also have talked since 1989 about possibly bringing City Creek out of its existing culvert and making it part of a green buffer between Capitol Hill neighborhoods and church holdings around Temple Square.
Dansie said what will happen to City Creek "is still up in the air," but having it flow along North Temple Street has historical precedent.
The creek flowed down the street from the time Mormon pioneers laid out the city until around 1905 when most of it was encased in a culvert.