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Salt Lakers want more parks, trails and open space, not more golf courses or ballfields.
That is the finding of two surveys commissioned by Mayor Ralph Becker's staff that sought input from about 1,500 residents.
The information comes as the mayor and City Council determine whether to put a recreation bond before voters in November.
The amount of such a bond has yet to be determined but should be known by late July. City Hall must file with the Salt Lake County clerk's office by Aug. 18 to get the bond on the fall ballot.
Information surrounding recreation was gathered at town hall meetings and by a telephone survey of 406 capital residents from all seven council districts.
Findings from the town halls were similar to that of the more scientific phone survey, even though meeting attendees could vote more than once and attend more than one gathering.
Nonetheless, when town hall respondents were asked, "What type of space should Glendale Golf Course be?" about 8 percent of more than 1,000 said it should remain a golf course.
By comparison, 26 percent favored a regional park, 24 percent desired natural open space and 14 percent wanted an "urban farm," according to an analysis by The Langdon Group.
When residents were asked in the telephone survey, "What would you do with a repurposed Glendale Golf Course and Jordan River Par 3?" 31 percent answered "parks and playgrounds" and 13 percent said "open/green space." Only 6 percent said to "keep the golf courses" and 5 percent called for "sports fields and facilities."
The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, according to Lindsey Ferrari of Wilkinson Ferrari & Co.
The questions were posed in that manner, Ferrari said, because the council and mayor already have determined to close the Glendale and Jordan River golf courses.
Although the discussion about funding for a Glendale makeover started months ago, the surveys went broader than those golf courses, said Councilman Stan Penfold.
"We have talked about the need for more parks and open space for a long time," he said. "But the discussion of the golf course may have focused [City Hall] on moving forward."
The telephone survey also asked how much residents would be willing to spend each month in property taxes for such a bond. Almost a third, 32 percent, said $10 or more about $120 a year. The next largest group, 21 percent, said they could go for $4 to $6 a month or $48 to $72 a year.
"I was really surprised at the high percentage of people who said they were willing to spend $10 a month," Councilwoman Lisa Adams said. "I'm much more inclined now to go forward with a bond this fall."
The survey shows people want activities other than golf, said Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall.
"Salt Lake is behind the curve on investment in trails, connectivity and open space," she said. "Our residents have noticed that. Hopefully, they will feel the same way in the fall [at election time]."
Councilman Kyle LaMalfa, whose west-side District 2 encompasses Glendale Golf Course, said residents have spoken clearly on what they want in recreation amenities.
"The changing recreation needs of Salt Lakers is obvious," he said. "I am really encouraged not just by the potential of the Glendale Golf Course to meet other needs, but also for the west-side community to have an amenity more aligned with our way of recreating."
Although they are the minority in the survey, sizable numbers certainly feel differently, especially when it comes to golf. They have teed off on city leaders at council meetings to protest planned closures and cutbacks at courses. Some 200 showed up for a rally Saturday in hopes of saving Glendale's links.
David Everitt, the mayor's chief of staff, said the survey results were compelling and confirmed what the administration had been hearing from residents.
The mayor's staff will develop a list of recreation projects in the coming weeks. The council then will select which options to put before voters. The menu of trails, parks, open space and other items each will come with a price tag so voters will know not only what they are voting for, but also how much it will cost.