Salt Lake City

Public Lands Department

Sunnyside Park Lease Agreement FAQ

FAQ: Sunnyside Park Lease Agreement

On March 5, 2024, Salt Lake City Council voted to approve a below-market ground lease process. The lease consists of 1.175 acres of Salt Lake City-owned property at Sunnyside Park to the University of Utah to facilitate the expansion of the University’s baseball playing field to meet NCAA requirements for a competition field.

Salt Lake City Public Lands Department has prepared a list of frequently asked questions below. If you have further questions, please email them to


What is the lease agreement between the University of Utah and Salt Lake City and why was it initiated? 

Salt Lake City Council has approved the Public Benefits Analysis for a proposed ground lease with the University of Utah to utilize 1.175 acres of Sunnyside Park for the University’s new collegiate baseball stadium. The process was initiated to eliminate the need for a 35-foot-tall wall in left field, which the NCAA requires for outfields failing to meet the distance-from-home-plate standards. This adjustment aims to enhance the stadium’s shared border with Sunnyside Park and to increase the building’s setback from Guardsman Way. The proposed lease agreement will include an initial $4.2 million payment from the University to Salt Lake City, followed by annual payments of $1.00 for the next 99 years. Funds from the initial lease payment will be used to enhance and improve Sunnyside Park. 

Can Salt Lake City prevent the University of Utah from building its new baseball stadium? 

The City has no authority to prevent the University of Utah from building the stadium. The University owns the land on which the stadium will be built (minus the 1.175 acres of Sunnyside Park that has been leased to them by Salt Lake City). 

The Salt Lake City Council’s authority includes approval or denial of the public benefits analysis (PBA) which determines whether the City can proceed with the lease process for City-owned property in Sunnyside Park. It is the City’s understanding that regardless of whether the a lease agreement is approved or not, the University would have proceeded with constructing a stadium at this location, but limit construction boundaries to university-owned land, including a potential 35 foot-tall wall in left field, further exacerbating the divide between the stadium and the park 

To see more information about how the University selected this site for their stadium, visit the University of Utah’s FAQ page

What would have happened if Salt Lake City had not approved this lease agreement? 

If the Salt Lake City Council had denied the public benefits analysis (PBA) and the leasing process was not authorized, the University of Utah may have still built their new stadium, including a potential 35 foot-tall wall in left field, as required by the NCAA for outfields that are not able to meet distance-from-home-plate standards.  

What are the public benefits of a lease with the University of Utah? 
  • The University of Utah will provide an upfront $4.2 million payment to Salt Lake City for Sunnyside Park improvements. 
  • The agreement will allow for Public Use of both the University Baseball field and practice facility during non-collegiate events as per the University of Utah Facility Rental Policy. 
  • The University will construct publicly accessible bathrooms that will face the park and be accessible to park patrons during non-collegiate events. 
  • The University’s financial commitment will enhance the City’s amenities at Sunnyside Park  and increase its quality and its usefulness to the public.  
  • Potential additional amenities could have a positive effect on the community’s physical and mental health. 

How will the $4.2 million from the University be used to enhance Sunnyside Park? 

When the University of Utah provides the initial lease payment of $4.2 million, this funding and the 2022 Parks, Trails & Open Space Bond funding will be used for park improvements at Sunnyside Park. However, specific improvements and designs that the City will implement have not yet been developed. 

SLC Public Lands will conduct a robust public engagement process in Spring 2024 to understand how the public would like to see the park improved with this funding. Once feedback is collected from the public, the City will use it to inform what additional amenities will be added to the park. 

How will the community be involved in the decision-making process for park improvements? 

There will be two phases for the public to contribute their input on the desired enhancements for Sunnyside Park. In the first phase, scheduled for spring 2024, we aim to understand the community’s vision and preferences regarding park improvements. 

In the second phase visuals will be shared illustrating how the park might look given the community feedback. During this stage, the public will be invited to provide comments on the possible design scenarios before the City proceeds to the design development phase in preparation for construction. 

Are there any existing renderings of Sunnyside Park that represent or guide what improvements will be funded for the park?   

No. Renderings will be provided upon completion of the first public engagement phase which will happen in Spring 2024.  

The rendering presented by the University of Utah and shown in several news stories helped Salt Lake City and the University of Utah assess the estimated costs of park improvements and helped determine the initial lease payment that would be made to the City. Any improvements made to Sunnyside Park would be at the direction of Salt Lake City, not the university. 


Is the lease being offered ‘below market value’ to the University of Utah? 

Yes. Under Utah state law, a city may lease property to nonprofit entities, such as public universities, at a below-market or discounted rate. The public benefits analysis (PBA) evaluated the potential impacts and benefits to the public of leasing a part of the park property to the University at a discounted rate.


How will Bond funding be divided between Donner Trail Park and Sunnyside Park?  

Donner Trail Park and Sunnyside Park are sharing $1.5 million from the 2022 Parks, Trails & Open Space Bond that is specifically dedicated to “Reimagine Neighborhood Parks, Trails, or Open Spaces” projects in City Council District 6. The way this funding will be distributed between the two parks will be determined by robust public engagement, which will occur in Spring 2024, and subsequent design processes, based on the needs of surrounding communities, asset quantity and quality, park size, and desired amenities. 


How will the loss of existing softball and multi-use fields impact sports leagues? 

The lease will result in the removal of one existing city-owned softball field and one multi-purpose field at Sunnyside Park. This would reduce the number of overall city-owned fields available for reservation for the 2024 sport season and lasting through construction of the stadium. Community engagement will help determine the specific amenities that will be added to Sunnyside Park, and whether or not additional sports fields will be included, with the funding from the Parks Bond and the contribution from the University of Utah. The lease agreement will allow for the multi-use field and softball field to be programmed and reserved through June 2024. 


How are league fees determined and how are the fees utilized?  

The Salt Lake City Finance Department approved the City Consolidated Fee schedule that governs the fees associated with sports field usage and park amenity reservations. For a detailed breakdown of fees related to different purposes and user categories, please review page 29 of the Consolidated Fee Schedule.  The fees charged by Salt Lake City are used to offset regulatory and administrative service costs. 


How will the construction of the University’s baseball stadium impact Sunnyside Park in the short-term? 

The existing portion of Sunnyside Park included in the lease agreement will remain open to the public through June 2024. After June 2024, the University will begin using the area to begin construction for the new baseball field, during which time it will be closed for public access. Park visitors should expect construction vehicles in the area and noise during working hours. 


How will public access to the baseball field and stadium amenities be ensured when not in use by the University?  

The baseball field and practice facility will be available for public use through the University of Utah’s reservation and field rental policy. The agreement between Salt Lake City and the University of Utah will stipulate that only operational costs will be charged for public field use.


Share "Sunnyside Park Lease Agreement FAQ" to your social network: