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It's billed as a "game changer" and a "once in a generation" opportunity to upgrade parks, trails and open spaces in Salt Lake City.
Mayor Ralph Becker's "Connecting You to Nature" plan is chock-full of goodies, including remaking the Glendale Golf Course into a regional multipurpose park, improvements to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, and a connector from it to the west side's 9 Line: an old rail corridor converted to a cycling/jogging path.
Nine such major projects that include a multitude of options would cost $125 million to $150 million, depending on how much the City Council decides to put before voters in November.
Costs to taxpayers would range from $61.84 to $74.21 per year on residential property valued at $273,000. For commercial property valued at $1 million, those costs would vary from $411.86 to $492.22, depending on what the council approves for the ballot.
But at least two council members fear the proposal doesn't offer enough to east-side residents to have broad-based support. The council, they said, may look at massaging the plan to add east-side perks.
Becker's proposal, according to City Hall, is built around "the concepts of active parks, a revitalized Jordan River, connecting trails and urban nature" and is designed to reflect feedback from a recent public-engagement process that invited residents to make their preferences known.
"Connecting You to Nature is a once-in-a-generation chance to take our parks and recreation opportunities to the next level," Becker said. "People told us they love their city and love their parks, trails and open spaces, but they want more of them."
The mayor emphasized the proposal would be "a game-changer" for Salt Lake City.
But Councilman Charlie Luke, whose District 6 encompasses the east side's Yalecrest area, said that while he applauded the proposal's focus on the Jordan River and Glendale it could lack support elsewhere in the city.
"It's highly focused on west-side amenities," he said. "There may be people on the east side who might feel they're not getting much out of this."
Councilwoman Lisa Adams, who represents Sugar House, said she was disappointed in the proposal because it doesn't address issues, such as the pond in Sugar House Park or the pond in Fairmont Park and offers the troubled golf system nothing.
"I felt disappointed three times over," she said. "If east-side property owners are being asked for a tax hike, they'll be looking for something to benefit this area."
City Councilman Stan Penfold, who represents Capitol Hill and the Avenues in District 3, said the council will closely consider the myriad aspects of the proposal. He also noted that he was encouraged by the cost of the mayor's plan.
One of the most attractive parts of the proposal is that it would connect the Jordan River Parkway and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Penfold said.
"Getting on a bike and safely looping the city from the Jordan River riparian zone to the Wasatch Mountain foothills and the alpine zone is unique," he said. "That's the part of this proposal that would truly be a jewel for Salt Lake City."
The recreation bond proposal was prompted, in part, by the debt run up by the city's golf enterprise fund. That led to the City Council's decision to close the Glendale and Jordan River Par 3 golf courses and redesign them with amenities the city currently lacks.
The changes also help put the city's golf program on a path to fiscal health, according to City Hall number crunchers.
But the Becker administration also tapped into citizen requests in taking a broad look at how to improve the City's parks, trails and open spaces, according to spokesman Art Raymond.
The mayor will formally introduce his plan to the City Council on July 21.
Becker will request that the council place a 21-year bonding proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Council members must decide which improvements and costs to put before voters so that the administration can file with the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office by the Aug. 18 deadline.
Salt Lake County voters in 2012 approved a $47 million countywide parks and trails bond by a 56-44 percent margin. Among features of that project was $11.5 million for Jordan River Parkway trail improvements, $9 million for completion of the eight-mile Parley's Trail connecting the river parkway with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and more than $30 million for regional parks outside of Salt Lake City.
The mayor's complete recommendation to the City Council is available at OutdoorsSLC.com.