As Public Lands thinks about what the future of Salt Lake City holds over the next 20 years, one thing that the department can guarantee is a commitment to transforming and sustaining quality outdoor spaces for the City’s residents, visitors, and wildlife.
On June 7th, Salt Lake City council adopted the Reimagine Nature: SLC Public Lands Master Plan, a plan providing the department with a strategic guide aligning the department’s actions with overall goals directed by community members.
Beginning in early 2020, Public Lands began learning what community members would like to see featured in the master plan through public engagement. The department gathered input from community members of all ages, city locations, races and ethnicities to gain insights in how to best transform and sustain our outdoor spaces to benefit all. This public engagement initiative gathered feedback from over 12,000 people, resulting in the most feedback recorded for a city plan in the City’s history.
Using this feedback, Public Lands developed a plan rooted in three core values of stewardship, livability, and equity. The 20-year master plan focuses on achieving 5 key goals:
- Sustain: Improve environmental health, conserve water resources and increase tree cover to improve regional air quality.
- Connect: Linking different types of public spaces and increasing accessibility to public lands through trails, sidewalks, roads and transit.
- Welcome: Creating inclusive spaces that appeal to all members of the community. Design and program neighborhood parks to highlight the unique natural, historical, cultural and economic identity of a specific neighborhood.
- Protect: Preserve “irreplaceable” natural resources throughout the city.
- Grow: Determine how the city can expand and efficiently manage its land system as the city’s population grows. There are already 92 projects in place just in the next few years.
Additionally, the plan also features 10 local and regional “transformative projects” informed by community members:
- Put the environment first by cultivating more biological diversity and conservation in city parks, urban forests, city golf lands and natural areas.
- Grow more urban forests.
- Connect the mountains to the Great Salt Lake through new greenways and regional trails that run from the foothills to the Jordan River Parkway Trail and from the parkway trail to the lake.
- Create new signage to make it easier for residents and visitors to find and explore nearby parks, trails and public spaces in the city.
- Reimagine neighborhood parks by transforming them into “vibrant community spaces” that reflect a neighborhood’s identity. This includes designing parks to reflect the interests and culture of the residents closest to the park.
- Promote activities and events in parks and open spaces year-round that cover a wide range of interests.
- Invest in projects and maintenance along the Jordan River Parkway Trail to improve the quality of the river and make it more accessible, like implementing a new kayak rental program.
- Express past and present stories through landscape, structure, placemaking and art.
- Make downtown more bike-friendly and walkable with greenspace trails.
- Find “appropriate and alternative uses” for the city’s six golf courses when they aren’t in use, such as new walking paths and trails, nighttime outdoor movies or cross-country skiing in the winter.
As Salt Lake City evolves over the next 20-years, the Public Lands master plan will ensure the City’s outdoor spaces are reflective of community needs and inviting to all.
Access the adopted master plan here.