BLUFFDALE Michael Horrocks didn't hesitate to draw a big, permanent line on the map of the Jordan River in front of him.
"Possible rowing course," Horrocks wrote on a shaded area of the river's banks. "Slight bends OK, 2,000 meters minimum."
Cross-hatched lines, arrows and notes similar to Horrocks' decorate dozens of Jordan River maps collected over the past two weeks for the Blueprint Jordan River project. Some maps have requests for parks and trails, others have simple marks for open space, but from these different markings and through online surveys project leaders hope to cull an action plan for the Jordan River that meets everyone's expectations.
"One thing we're seeing in this process is that one size does not fit all," said Alan Matheson, executive director of Envision Utah, which is facilitating the study for Salt Lake County. "Some groups are looking for areas that are appropriate for restaurants, and others are looking for recreation. A lot of the issue has been finding the right places to satisfy the interests of the various parties that participate."
Thursday marked the last of six scheduled workshops geared toward gathering input on the future of the 44-mile-long river, but Envision Utah is still inviting public participation through an online survey at the project's Web site, www.blueprint.slco.org, and offering to do individual presentations for interested groups with 20 or more people.
So far, more than 200 people have attended the workshops and taken the online survey, but the responses have varied. Results of a survey taken during a workshop in Bluffdale Thursday showed that 53 percent of the 20 some people who were present felt safe using the Jordan River Parkway trail. A second question showed that 50 percent of the people also thought an increase in patrolling the trail would improve safety.
"A lot of people are saying the Jordan River can be a lot more than it is," Matheson said. "It's fun to see the enthusiasm of people that care about their community. A lot of the things people are discussing won't happen in their lives, so this is an unselfish act that's creating a brighter future for the next generation."
A sampling of opinions gathered from participants sitting around Horrocks' table ranged from those who are concerned about the river's water quality to those who want to protect their property rights along the river.
West Jordan resident Betty Naylor said she's somewhat skeptical about what effect the outcome of this project will have on her cattle that graze along the river's banks.
The Blueprint Jordan River project will only be a planning tool for cities to have a unified vision of what should happen along the river, but Naylor is worried about what will happen if the river in her section of the city is more open to recreation and people who might not treat the river favorably.
"It's our way of life that's being impacted by people that don't respect either property or animals," Naylor said.Results from the project survey will be presented in the fall.
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