This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Give the people behind Salt Lake County's $90 million parks bond the credit for diversifying.
The bond, which is on this year's ballot as Salt Lake County Proposition A, is a model for getting buy-in from a wide variety of constituents. The money includes $59 million for 11 new recreation developments, with the other $31 million going to 85 separate maintenance and improvement projects at existing parks and facilities.
The money is spread to parks throughout the valley, and it's spread throughout the ever-expanding spectrum of what county residents want to do for recreation.
The big-ticket items include more than $11 million for the first phase of a regional park in Magna, $12 million for the first phase of Welby Regional Park in South Jordan and $19 million for a recreation center in Draper.
The big winners among existing facilities would be the county's equestrian park in South Jordan ($5 million for maintenance projects), a new pavilion, playground and rest rooms at Kearns' Oquirrh Park ($4.5 million) and a new clubhouse for the Mick Riley Golf Course in Murray ($4 million).
Beyond that is money for ball diamonds and soccer fields, nature trails, gymnasium floors, rest rooms, parking lot resurfacings and ice-sheet cooling equipment throughout the county. More than $3 million would go just to playground equipment (including three new "universally accessible playgrounds" for children of all abilities).
Is there something for everyone in this? Probably not, but it's close enough to everyone that the nine-member Salt Lake County Council voted unanimously to put the bond on the ballot. And the tax watchdogs at the Utah Taxpayers Association are on record as not opposing the bond, largely because it won't increase property taxes for county residents.
A bond that doesn't increase taxes?
Technically, the bond is not a tax increase. But if county residents approve it, they would pass up a small decrease in their taxes. That is because the county is retiring old bond debt. If the parks bond does not pass, the owners of an average ($295,000) house would see an $18.18 drop in property taxes annually. If it passes, they'll pay that $18.18 for another 10 years.
A nickel a day for parks? That is money well spent, and well distributed.