Parks, Trails and Open Space General Obligation Bond gets public input Tuesday night
SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Council heard comments Tuesday night about the Parks, Trails and Open Space Bond that will be on the ballot Nov. 8.
The bond would provide $85 million to enhance the city’s public lands system. If voters approve the bond, funds would be used to create, improve and renovate parks, trails and open spaces in Salt Lake City.
Some of the projects to get funding would include the new Glendale Regional Park at the old Raging Waters water park site on 1700 S., and the addition of new park amenities at Liberty and Sugar House parks.
Funding would also create new parks, including playgrounds and trails, in Glendale and the Granary District, where there are currently very few green spaces to play, according to the SLC open spaces bond website.
Money from the bond would also update aged facilities and increase community identity for at least one neighborhood park, trail or open space per council district and at Allen, Fairmont, and Liberty parks.
City officials say some of that bond would also go to improve degraded waterways to enhance water quality, pollinator habitat and migratory nesting grounds. It would also help complete the connection of the Folsom Trail to the Jordan River Parkway Trail.
The council allowed three people to speak before ending the public comment period. Two of the three were in favor of the bond, including Salt Lake resident Joseph Johnson, who hopes the city will think about water conservation.
“If this resolution and bond passes, which I do hope it does, it must be the priority of the city government to prioritize water conservation and water efficiency in all new and updated plans to existing infrastructure and parks and open spaces here,” Johnson told the council.
Nigel Swaby is also in favor of the bond’s passage, and is impressed that the city’s west side is getting something out of it.
“The Folsom Trail is part of this project,” said Swaby. “I got to ride it for the fist time the other day and didn’t realize how complete it is, along with the Glendale Regional Park, something that has been neglected for a number of years. I’m glad to see that’s on there as well as restoration of the Fisher Mansion and the grounds surrounding that.”
Lifetime resident Sean Tomlinson raised some concerns about cost, and his already high property taxes. According to the city, if the bonds are approved by voters and are all issued at the same time, the estimated property taxes to pay the bonds would be approximately $53.80 per year, or less than $5.00 a month.
“I’m mostly opposed to raising our taxes. My taxes, just my property taxes went up 23%, which meant that almost $1000.00 more out of my family budget goes to taxes and property taxes. I think we can find ways to do what we need to do with our city’s parks and I also think we can find ways to save money, without raising taxes and do what we need to do to get done,” said Tomlinson.
If the bonds are not approved by voters, the property tax burden would decrease as a result of other general obligation bonds being paid off.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Salt Lake City residents are encouraged to vote in-person that day, or to vote by mail. Ballots started going out to registered voters this week, and must be postmarked by Nov. 7.
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