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South Jordan Journal

City Reallocates Funds, Gets New Park

Jun 10, 2016 09:23AM ● By Sandra Osborn

In a matter of months this open space will turn into a developed park connecting neighborhoods to Nielsen’s Frozen Custard. -Sandra Osborn

By Sandra Osborn / [email protected]

How does an evening stroll and frozen custard sound? For residents of the Rushton Meadows neighborhood, this relaxing image will be a reality before summer ends. A new park is coming along the east side of the Welby Jacob Canal, just south of the new Nielsen’s Frozen Custard.

The city had already secured $707,410 toward the park through master development agreements from the developers of the single-family homes to the south of the proposed project area and the town homes already built by 1 Utah Homes.  

“Back in June 2013, the city approved a development agreement with 1 Utah Homes where the developer acquired previously city-owned property in exchange for park improvements,” City Planner Damir Drozdek said.

But the lowest bid for the project came in excess of $1,042,116 by the same company that developed the park for Sunstone, S&L.

“S&L did a good job at Sunstone, so we are happy with the lowest bidder,” Director of Development Services and City Engineer Brad Klavano said.

On April 19, the South Jordan City Council approved a resolution to appropriate the additional $334,706.80 for the completion of the Rushton Meadows Park Improvement Project.

To make up the remainder of the funds, city officials reallocated $150,000 from the budgeted Welby Park Interactive Playground project.

“The Welby Park Playground has not been done due to lack of Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) funds,” Klavano said. “So we propose to transfer $150,000 for the playground part of the project to the Rushton Meadows Park.

Other funds were transferred from the secondary water project for Prospector Park, from the city’s available Water Fund, and park impact fees. City leaders are planning on advancing the project for Prospector Park next fiscal year.

Following the city’s strong commitment to parks and recreation as integral to the quality of life in South Jordan, the Rushton Meadows park aims to bring consistent level of service to newly developed areas. The current city level of service standard requires 5.74 acres of park space per 1,000 residents.

Parks are vital based on the city’s demographics. According to the South Jordan Master Plan, the city has a significantly young population. Children and adolescents ages 5 to 14 make up 22 percent of the population, which is 5 and 8 percent points higher than the state and national averages respectively. Residents want their children to be able to play outside.

South Jordan residents have indicated in survey results that they want accessible walking and biking trails, small neighborhood parks and playgrounds among their top choices for open space in the city. Residents have also expressed a desire to preserve and maintain natural areas, such as along the canal. City officials are working to further develop the trail system and establish needed links. The Rushton Meadows Park will have a trail system that connects to the park at the South Jordan High Pointe Subdivision.

The 2-acre park is designed to be a landscaped passive park space with secondary water.

“There will be a central plaza to the park, picnic tables and benches and playground equipment,” Drozdek said.

But the park will bring more than just amenities to the residents. Research has shown that parks improve the health and well-being of the city. Parks boost physical activity, reduce crime rate and protect natural ecosystems. For developers and the city, parks also bring economic benefits. Proximity to a developed park improves property values, particularly those adjacent to or near the protected public land. Parks make cities more sustainable, livable and vibrant, according to the City Park Alliance.

Construction is expected to begin soon and be completed by August this year.