Salt Lake City

Public Lands Department

Backman Community Open Space

Project Description

The project, paired with the installation of the Bridge to Backman, includes natural area enhancement and safety improvements on two acres of city open space adjacent to Backman Elementary and the Jordan River. This open space area is currently covered in thick, invasive vegetation and poses safety concerns for students; perceptions about the safety of the space mean that it is virtually unused.

However, an analysis of census block data and access points by the University of Utah shows that this specific natural area has the potential to provide walk-able access to nature for more children than any other natural open space in the city. The site is currently the subject of a National Park Service “Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program” project to generate a community-centric restoration design plan for the natural area.

The final design will likely include intentional landscaping and safety improvements, watchable wildlife areas, an outdoor classroom and permaculture garden and/or similar amenities. This project will fund implementation of the planned improvements, making the site an enormous public asset for hundreds of local children and families in the City’s Rose Park neighborhood and improving a blighted section of the Jordan River Parkway.

Project Details

Project Location

601 North 1500 West.

Project Manager

Kat Andra


Project Status

Design for landscape and safety improvements


This project improves an open space adjacent to Backman Elementary. Another project has funded the installation of a bridge from Backman Elementary across the Jordan River to this open space, so students of Backman elementary will have direct access to this improved space as an outdoor classroom.

Project Updates

City staff are re-igniting detailed design for the Backman Community Open Space now that the bridge construction has been completed. Design will continue throughout 2022 and into early 2023 with construction to begin Summer 2023.