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Take heart, advocates for more lacrosse, soccer and ultimate Frisbee playing fields. They're coming. More pickleball courts and ice rinks, too. Even a golf course.

But don't look for Salt Lake County to invest in more outdoor swimming pools. They're expensive to build and maintain and have limited seasons of use. Expect instead to see big water playgrounds — splash pads on steroids, so to speak — to keep people cool in the summer.

These are just a few features of a parks and recreation master plan on the verge of completion after two years of work.

"This plan will guide us collectively in decisions and priorities over the next 10 years," said Erin Litvack, director of the county's Department of Community Services, which includes parks and recreation.

Martin Jensen, who oversees parks and recreation, said the finalization of this plan will lay a foundation for the projects expected to be funded through the county's Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) tax. A committee of local government officials has been formed to establish a priority list of projects to be funded by a bond backed by ZAP revenues.

Jensen said the county heads into that process knowing it has a shortfall of about 1,200 acres in space dedicated to parks and recreation, according to National Recreation and Parks Association standards for a population of 1 million-plus people. At current rates of park development, he added, that shortfall will grow to 2,350 acres.

But he is confident the master plan's insistence on developing open space in existing parks into 25 multipurpose sports fields will help with that, along with playing space set aside in at least two more regional parks.

"If we can build those in the next decade," Jensen said, "it will take tremendous pressure off those [sports] groups and their needs."

The county's overall plan places priority on creating hiking and biking trail systems that connect communities and serve as transportation corridors as well as recreation outlets, more recreation and senior centers from downtown Salt Lake City to western West Jordan, several indoor pools, softball and baseball diamonds, and ice rinks.

In most cases, Jensen noted, efforts will be made to build at least two playing fields or rinks at each site, making them more attractive for luring revenue-generating state, regional and national tournaments. On all fronts, he added, "we want to increase play on current fields by making the turf more durable or adding more lighting for night play."

Here are a few master plan recommendations for each of the county's five planning districts:


(Salt Lake City and Emigration Canyon) To make up for a shortage of park acreage:

• Develop a regional park in Salt Lake City west of Interstate 15.

• Renovate old swimming pool space in the Northwest Recreation Center into a multipurpose room.

• Build a new recreation center downtown as its population grows.

• Study the feasibility of a rowing facility on the Jordan River or its Surplus Canal.

• Explore ways to help patrons feel safer in using parks and recreation facilities in this area.


(South Salt Lake, Millcreek, Holladay, Murray, Midvale)

• Complete Big Cottonwood Regional Park to include five multipurpose sports fields, a large water playground and outdoor pickleball courts.

• Complete Wheeler Farm, including a new education facility in conjunction with Utah State University.

• Add a second ice sheet at the County Ice Center in Murray.

• Acquire more land for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and improve connecting trails.

• Study the feasibility of building an indoor pool at the Copperview Recreation Center.


(Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Sandy)

• Build a new recreation center in Draper.

• Acquire land for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to connect with Draper's extensive trail system.

• Consider enclosing the South Mountain outdoor pool to increase its use.

• Study the feasibility of developing a nature center in Dimple Dell.


(Bluffdale, Riverton, Herriman, South Jordan, Copperton)

• Finish the Welby and Southwest regional parks.

• Acquire land for future development of one or two more large regional parks.

• Partner with a city in the quadraft to develop a golf course.

• Build a recreation center in Bluffdale.

• Build a two-sheet ice arena and create a large water playground in western Herriman.

• Build a multipurpose field at J.L. Sorenson Recreation Center in Herriman.

• Consider a partnership with South Jordan to expand the city's recreation center pool and to include competitive lanes.

• Study the possible closure of the Marv Jenson Recreation Center at 10300 S. Redwood Road in South Jordan.


(West Jordan, Kearns, Taylorsville, West Valley City, Magna)

• Complete development of Lodestone and Magna regional parks.

• Develop large water playgrounds in Lodestone and Welby regional parks.

• Acquire land for one or two more regional parks.

• Develop a new recreation center in western West Jordan.

• Cover Taylorsville's outdoor swimming pool.

• Study the feasibility of covering the Magna outdoor swimming pool.

• Study modifying the Kearns Recreation Center to better meet community needs.

As he wrapped up his presentation, Jensen was advised by Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton to be cognizant of making sure new parks address off-leash dog issues, a hot topic as the county launches a one-year pilot project at a half dozen parks.

"It permeates every discussion we have now," he responded.