KEARNS On weekends, Roger Snow drives past a long line of cars parked in front of Kearns' Oquirrh Park, and he shudders to think what will happen if those cars ever migrate past the front of his house.
The threat of two potential parking lots and new roads that would connect his sleepy Park Wood subdivision to the heart of the park is enough to propel Snow and two other members of the newly formed Park Wood neighborhood watch to launch a full-scale campaign against a preliminary master plan being championed by the Kearns Community Council.
The plan calls for a new skate park which will be funded by $1 million in Zoo, Arts and Parks tax money and a $1 million redesign of Oquirrh Park that will include construction of new parking lots and relocation of two soccer fields. But Snow and fellow neighborhood watch co-commanders Kent Markus and David Taylor aren't happy that the plans, which were unveiled at a community council meeting on May 28, include plunking down asphalt roads and an approximately 100-stall parking lot at the end of their cul-de-sac.
"If they put those parking lots there, you will see an exodus that you wouldn't believe," Snow said.
Snow estimates that 200-300 cars would travel past his house to get to the park on weekends and weeknights when community sports leagues occupy the park.
That's a concern community council chairman Chuck McDowell says is valid, and a primary reason the council is considering other options that would not have such an impact on the neighborhood.
"I recognize there are some legitimate issues and questions those people have, and I don't want to downplay that," McDowell said. "As I look at the number of cars that would be going in and out of there, I can understand their concern."
The Park Wood neighborhood watch group is also bothered that the group didn't know about the community council's parking lot plans even though the master plan has been two years in the making until April. The project is a collaborative effort between the Kearns Community Council and Salt Lake County.
"We're all for the skate park," Markus said. "It's great for the community, what they're doing, but our biggest problem is communication."
McDowell says it was a mistake not to do more to inform each resident, but Salt Lake County Council west-side community liaison Greg Schulz says the county did its part in informing the public.
"They (the neighborhood watch) came into this process late in the game," Schulz said. "The scary part about it was it wasn't like it wasn't noticed, that the people weren't being told about it. The county was noticing."Schulz added that the county is working to address the residents' concerns and include them in the planning process. McDowell says the community council plans to use fliers and an automatic-dialing phone system to advertise the next public hearing on the issue. The hearing has not yet been scheduled, but will most likely take place later this month.
Contributing: Leigh Dethman
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