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Park plans move forward
The committee unanimously approved the proposal, with one exception to the plan. Members expressed concern about approving the decision to remove some of the old trees until they had read over the options included in an e-mail from Bill Rutherford, the city's urban forester. The committee will vote on the landscaping issue at their next meeting in September.
Deseret Morning News Graphic
The improvements will affect the outer edge of the park. A walking surface will be built around the park similar to the new walkway around Liberty Park.
The east side of Pioneer Park will have new entry plazas, and all four corners will have new benches. Additional power and access will be available for the farmers market vendors, reducing the mess and frustration vendors now experience. About 60 trees will planted to replace the trees removed, if the committee approves that step.
Dell Cook, the project manager, has been working on the project since its inception almost five years ago.
"This is just stage one of phase 1," said Cook, referring to renovations. "The base bid (for stage one) was all the City Council felt like we could afford. Alternate items like the lighting, the two west-entry plazas and the dog park can be put back in when and if the City Council approves more funding for the park renovations."
Cook was confident that once the committee read the e-mail on landscaping and considered the recommendation from Rutherford, they would also approve the removal of the trees. The tree removal is needed to provide access for police and vendors to the farmers market.
During the public hearing, Salt Lake resident Michael DeGroote expressed concern about disturbing the ground at Pioneer Park without first trying to discover and document the possible historic sites of wells, cabins and other structures associated with the first fort built at the location.
The committee agreed that the historical significance of the park was critical to consider but believed the stage-one proposal requested only minimal surface changes and noted that the proposal included funding for a monitor on site during all work to handle any archaeological artifacts they might discover during the construction.
"These are great plans," said DeGroote. "But there isn't any indication of what was here. This is our Walden Pond, our Bunker Hill. It's vital to the historical record of Salt Lake City."
Some residents were disappointed that the dog park was not currently being funded.
"We would love to have a dog park on the west side (of the city)," said Amanda Moore. "It's one of the quickest ways to activate a park and reduce crime."
The bids have been received for the work, and the low bid has been determined. Cook plans to award the contract next month and hopes the landscaping issue will be resolved without causing the contractor any construction delays. Work will begin in mid-October, after the farmers market season ends. The renovations are scheduled for completion before the 2008 farmers market begins.
Subsequent plans for the park include a green area, history gardens, a children's water play area and an ice sheet.
"They are the frosting on the cake that isn't even baked yet," said Cook. "Phase two isn't even on the radar."