Salt Lake City

Public Lands Department

Allen Park

A historical, yet new addition to Salt Lake City!

Welcome back, to the blog that gives you in-depth and detailed information about everything public lands! In this post, we are talking about the newest addition to our city park system. Allen Park, a 7-acre historical park, that has been recently purchased by the city and is currently being revitalized to offer a unique outdoor experience to residents and visitors. In this blog, we sit down with Katherine Maus, one of our very own, Public Lands Planners who is working on this project, to provide you with more details on the process of this park’s transformation and what to expect.

Question: What is the Allen Park Project?

Answer: Katherine Maus-Public Lands Planner

 The city purchased Allen Park in 2020, it is one of our newest parks. It contains some incredible landscape features and 15 structures of various shapes, sizes, and functions, and the Emigration Creek runs through it. When the city bought it, there were already a lot of preconceptions about the space and the city knew it needed a plan to celebrate it as a public park and honor its history. In 2021, SLC Council funded an Adaptive Reuse Management plan for Allen Park, which basically takes information we have about the park, and a lot of community engagement of what the future of the park will be. We are in the process of this plan, and we are in the first big public engagement push right now. Within this engagement push, we are asking people what they like, how they want to use the space, what they see for the future, and potential concerns they might have moving forward. That will overall be the basis of this plan that will dictate the future of this project moving forward. We also have a Cultural Landscape Report that’s been done on the site. This report is an inventory of all the features that are contained in the park right now, how historical they are, and how to sensitively treat and adapt them. A lot of the features in the park are in disrepair and deteriorating, and this plan informs and helps us improve those features and overall maintain the historical integrity.

Question: So, Allen Park could be what the community wants and possibly be used as a historical landmark, or monument?

Answer: Katherine Maus-Public Lands Planner

 Definitely! We will balance the historic nature of the park, with the community preferences with this plan and will share them out at the end of 2023, or early 2024. There are a couple of ways that the community can participate, there’s a survey open right now, and there will be another one that opens in September. Within the plan, we’re also exploring designating the site as a local and/or national historic landmark site.

Question: What are some of the things that the community wants right now?

Answer: Katherine Maus-Public Lands Planner

Many people are currently using the space right now as a quiet, respite away from city life. Although it’s downtown Salt Lake, it’s a green oasis, and what we have seen in the comments is people want that to continue, having a quieter space for people to enjoy nature away from the city. And the creek runs through it, and it’s one of the few parks in Salt Lake City where there is access to a creek and many want to celebrate that, and the landscaping near the creek. The structures are very cool and unique many want to see them remain or adapted in some way. Educational programming with students has come to the forefront. The Allen family who originally owned the park, were into art, so we want to honor that by exploring potential educational programs around art. It is a natural area, so people love the wildlife, and there are currently three peacocks on site now, and they are loved by many, and you can go check that out, at the park right now!

Question: Has there been any pushback about this project from visitors, and residents?

Answer: Katherine Maus-Public Lands Planner

Yes, there have been a few concerns. I think the idea of a big public park can be a little intimidating, and a lot of people thought that we would have many loud events there. There is still some concern about the level of programming and the type of events that will be held there. We are trying to be sensitive to that. So, we are looking at programming and events, passive recreational opportunities, and ensuring whatever we put in is compatible with a residential community. The structures are also a concern. Since Allen Park has such an important historic value; we are constantly balancing the features and structures we will be able to save, and how the public will interact with those.

Question: From my understanding, the first round of surveys will be finished this month, and the second will be in September. How does this process work, how will you determine the surveys?

Answer: Katherine Maus-Public Lands Planner

Right now, our survey consists of open-ended questions such as: “What do you want to see in Allen Park”, and multiple-choice questions that prioritize what you want to see. Once we get done with this big information-gathering period, we have some consultants on board from, GSBS Architects, and will come up with at least two or potentially more site plans. The second survey will show the public the site plans and which pieces they want to see, what’s concerning, and why. And with all this information, we will continue to puzzle piece all the desires of the community into one final vision for the park.

Question: What’s the overall duration or time you all want to see Allen Park become what the community envisions?

Answer: Katherine Maus-Public Lands Planner

We are hoping to finish the plan by early 2024. In November of last year, the public voted on passing an 85-million-dollar bond for parks, trails, and open spaces, and 4 and a half million dollars of that is allocated to Allen Park. Part of the plan will dictate how that money is spent. However, it’s very likely that the community vision will be more money than the bond funding will provide. The timeline is a little uncertain, but we are hoping to spend that bond funding in 2024. The plan will also include a funding strategy for fulfilling the remainder of the vision.

Question: Is there a goal or certain vision that the mayor and public lands have for this project?

Answer: Katherine Maus-Public Lands Planner

Yes, of course, so the mayor included as her vision higher arching goals when she approved to purchase of the park, and we share those which are the following:

  • preserve the stories and historic character of Allen Park.
  • Enhance the forested area and restore the natural habitat areas and native vegetation,
  • make improvements to Emigration Creek’s flood plans,
  • preserve, repair, and adapt the most historically and most architecturally significant structures on the property.
  • Promote pedestrian access and trail connectivity,
  • Preserve and protect the unique artwork on site.

Question: Is there anything you would like to add?

Answer- Katherine Maus-Public Lands Planner

 Please take the survey, we genuinely want feedback and the input of the community!

As the Allen Park project continues to move forward, community involvement is key. This is a project that belongs to all of us, and as such, we want to hear your thoughts and opinions. What do you envision for the park? What are some features or activities that you would like to see implemented? We urge you to take the survey at the bottom of the page and let us know your thoughts. Your input will help shape the park into a space that reflects the wants and needs of our community. If you have any questions about the project, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Katherine Maus. Her email is listed below, and she would be more than happy to discuss any concerns or ideas that you may have. Let’s come together to create a park that we can all be proud of. Thank you for your continued support and participation in this important project.

Survey Link:

Katherine’s email information

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