Don’t Waste this Opportunity to Leverage Past Tax Payer Investments – Vote For Proposition #1By Councilman Corey Rushton, Jordan River Commission Chairman and Councilman Chris McCandless, Jordan River Commission Vice Chair Salt Lake County voters have the opportunity to leverage four decades of investments by the county and local governments in high quality parks, recreation, and open space for current and future generations by voting in favor of Proposition#1, Salt Lake County’s proposed regional parks and trails bond. The approval of the Salt Lake County parks and trails bond will allow long-awaited completion of the Jordan River Parkway Trail.
Community leaders recognized the potential of the Jordan River corridor in a planning document published in 1971 called, A Jordan River Parkway – An Alternative. This report outlined an ambitious vision for the river corridor including parks, natural open space and a trail connecting Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake. The idea caught the attention of many in the community. In response, the State Legislature created the Provo-Jordan River Parkway Authority and appropriated funds for the acquisition of property needed to begin implementation of this vision. By the early 1990s, the first segments of the Jordan River Parkway Trail were constructed, and today less than 3.5 miles of the lake-to-lake trail remain incomplete.
The 45-mile Jordan River Parkway Trail is used regularly by commuters, children traveling to school and by countless others for recreation, personal rejuvenation and a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. The trail is just one of the amenities found in the river corridor. Others include a number of developed parks, playgrounds, golf courses, natural open space preserves, educational centers, urban fisheries and wildlife viewing areas.
Since that initial report in the 1970s, countless hours, enormous effort and significant resources have been invested into the idea of a parkway along the Jordan River. In 2008, a renewed vision for the river corridor was expressed in a document called, Blueprint Jordan River. Led by Envision Utah, this process involved thousands of Wasatch Front residents and resulted in a new plan for the river corridor, including enhanced recreation, open-space preservation, community development, transportation connections, river restoration, water quality improvements and environmental education. Participants recognized that a restored and enhanced river corridor could attract new businesses and investments to the Wasatch Front, and would improve the quality of life for those already here.
The river and trail connect us all together as they cross through three different counties and fifteen cities. Each of the individual parks, trail segments and fishing ponds along the river contribute to the livability of our communities. However, maximizing the full potential of the Jordan River corridor depends on the belief that the sum is greater than its parts. We must work together to complete the trail, to set aside open space for wildlife and parks, and to embrace the Jordan River in our community design. The benefits will be better personal health, enhanced water and air quality and an unparalleled recreational resource for us all. Finishing the Jordan River Parkway Trail is the next step towards realizing the full potential of the Jordan River corridor.
The Jordan River Commission, with its membership of state, counties, and cities along with business and non-profit partners, recognizes the opportunity that Salt Lake County voters have to take advantage of the current low financing costs and construction rates to complete this last segment of the Jordan River Trail through leveraging and maximizing the past public investments. Please help ensure that Wasatch Front residents will have high quality recreational opportunities for generations to come. Vote for the issuance of bonds.