Salt Lake County Regional Development News
Salt Lake County’s Wasatch Canyons General Plan Receives High Achievement Award from Industry Professionals
October 23, 2020
Wasatch Canyons General Plan is Award Winning
Salt Lake County received a High Achievement Award for the recently adopted Wasatch Canyons General Plan from the American Planning Association Utah Chapter on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.
The General Plan guides the future for some of Utah’s most beloved recreation destinations including Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Mill Creek Canyon, Parleys Canyon, and the Foothills.
Salt Lake County worked closely with the U.S. Forest Service, UDOT, UTA, Salt Lake City, the Central Wasatch Commission, towns of Alta and Brighton, MSD and many stakeholders in developing the General Plan that was adopted in June 2020 to be used for the next 20 or more years.
“Our dedicated Regional Development staff expended extraordinary efforts to ensure that the planning process included a robust public engagement, as well as the input of dozens of community partners and stakeholders,” Catherine Kanter, Deputy Mayor of Regional Operations, said. “All in all, it was a heavy lift, but well worth the effort.”
The honor of excellence recognizes the hard work and significant collaboration spanning three years in creating and drafting the Wasatch Canyons General Plan. From Mayor Jenny Wilson’s leadership to the County Council, Mountainous Planning District commission, Deputy Mayor Catherine Kanter, Regional Development Director Dina Blaes, Planning and Transportation Director Ryan Perry, Project Manager Jake Young, and Logan Simpson.
“This plan establishes a clear vision for the canyons with big pictures goals and detail strategies to achieve the goals,” Young said.
October 10, 2020
Around 170,000 Utah residents were impacted by the September windstorm with loss of power – most of those in Salt Lake County. The County mobilized quickly to provide residents and municipalities with emergency protective measures, like warming centers, and repairing traffic signals as more than $4 million in damage from the hurricane-force winds was assessed
Each of our 103 parks saw damage and debris from the wind event. The loss of trees in parks and green spaces, which stood witness to generations of Salt Lake County families, was heartbreaking.
Nearly $400,000 has been spent to remove fallen trees and debris from public streets, parks, as well as storm drains, canals and streams to mitigate against flooding. Salt Lake County Public Works crews have taken nearly 700 loads of debris to the landfill – with Salt Lake County and Millcreek debris alone totaling 2.5 tons.
This hasn’t been our first challenge or emergency of the year, though; and the community has responded with a resiliency that mirrors Mother Nature.
On Saturday, Oct. 10 Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson joined Salt Lake City Mayor Mendenhall, Clark and Christine Ivory, and TreeUtah to plant 29 new trees at West Point Park. The occasion marked Ivory Home's 10,000th tree planted in Utah.
"We appreciate the outreach from Ivory Homes to find tree projects outside of SLC as well as their $10,000 contribution," Mayor Wilson said.
Southridge Park and Oquirrh Park in Kearns are two westside locations where new tree planting plans are in place, in addition to those underway in Millcreek and West Valley City.
Salt Lake County will continue to restore these green spaces into next year with the help of municipalities and great partners like the ones gathered together on Oct. 10.
September 25, 2020
Rides and Concessions at Liberty Park
Utah has many hidden and beloved gems.
One of those is the Rides and Concessions at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.
Liberty Park was created and opened in the 1880s, the decade before the first Ferris Wheel was invented and showcased at the World’s Fair. It is among the oldest and most popular parks in the state.
Liberty Park has held many attractions and features in its 100-year history, but it has consistently included amusement rides and concessions.
The Ferris Wheel.
Boats – rowboats, a riverboat, now paddle boats.
And a whole lot of joy.
“Visitors come all the time and say, ‘Oh, I used to come as a kid and walk here on 13th South,’” owner Craig Silverstein said.
While ownership of the rides varied over the decades, Craig has owned and operated the business for the past nine years. Amusement and carnivals are a nostalgic and cherished part of his life. At the age of 15, Craig got a job working at the Buddies Amusement Park in his Brooklyn neighborhood. (He ended up calling Utah home after he and a bunch of buddies graduated from amusement parks to skiing.)
It takes commitment and time to own and operate rides that emanate nostalgia and the feeling of decades past. It requires constant attention, upkeep, and maintenance to minimize risk and provide safe experiences.
“You don’t see these parks anymore,” Craig said.
While it’s something Salt Lakers might take for granted, visitors are constantly suggesting the operation set up something similar in their own hometowns.
The Ferris Wheel that operates right now in Liberty Park was fully restored and is from 1956. The carousel, while not the original, is thought to date from the 1930s. Craig says it’s hard to find parts for it these days. Old chairs were purchased and restored. New bearings were installed in the past seven years.
One of Craig’s goals is to raise money to restore the carousel to its glory – fresh, vibrant paint and the works. Once restoration would be complete, he’d make it free to ride.
While Liberty Park in yesteryears past featured a set of train tracks, and train to go with it, Craig now has an electric train to pull kids along, in addition to swings, cars and the popular paddle boats.
In normal years, staff begin dusting off and setting up rides in early spring and operate on weekends until schools let out for the summer. Then, it operates fully through the last weekend of September with 40-45 part-time staff (usually high school teens) until it gets packed up for the winter again.
In 2020, that hasn’t been the case. While staff began setting up rides in February 2020, news and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic in March stopped the operation in its tracks.
Rides and concessions didn’t open until June, and even then, only on the weekends with increased safety measures and precautions suggested by public health.
Craig saw a 70% decrease for Liberty Park Rides & Concessions in July 2020 compared to July 2019.
To sustain the operations through a part of the pandemic, Craig applied to Salt Lake County’s Small Business Impact Grant and received funds to mitigate the losses.
“The grant is great. … It’s a lifeline, without it we might have even closed,” he said.
Craig voiced that there have been many great programs for struggling business owners like himself, from the Paycheck Protection Program to Tip Your Server.
“The game is to survive. I feel lucky. Think about restaurants. If you do half the volume, you can’t do it,” he said. “You have to improvise and do what you can.”
For now, Craig continues to coach his staff on sanitizing until its last weekend. He hopes Liberty Park Rides will be back to normal in 2021.
“It was good to hear and see people come out,” he said. “They’re craving it more.”