This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday evening voted to spend $6.9 million on a so-called greenway that would run parallel to a planned trolley line from South Salt Lake to Sugar House.
The 6-1 vote came immediately after a public hearing where a dozen residents and business people voiced support for the greenway, which would include a continuation of the Parleys Trail Project.
Council Luke Garrott was the lone dissenting voice. He questioned whether enough planning had gone into the project that will eventually see two rail lines were there now is one. The right-of-way was originally a freight line that ran east about 2300 South into Sugar House.
"I like the idea of a linear park," Garrott said. "But we have not had the chance to fully analyze this park."
Garrott said he feared that when the second track goes in, the route will become a transit corridor rather than a park.
"My conscience can't let me vote for it, because this won't be a greenway."
But an emotional Councilman Soren Simonsen said the project will bring "a wonderful improvement."
He said although he shared some of Garrott's concerns, "the pros outweigh the cons."
Residents, community groups and business interests worked for years to see the project through, Simonsen said.
"It's not perfect. But it's awesome to see the power of the community when it comes together," he said. "This is primarily a District 7 project. But it is a huge investment by the entire city. And hopefully, it will be a model for the entire city."
Sally Barraclough of the Sugar House Community Council's Parks, Open Space and Trails Committee said she was "thrilled" with the council's vote.
"We're mostly concerned that the city has more green and open space," she said. "It will be especially good to have the Parleys Trail within the corridor."
The trolley line and greenway will be a special place and attract people from throughout Salt Lake Valley, said Sharen Hauri of the Salt Lake City Open Space Advisory Board. She compared it to High Line Park in New York City.
"I think it will be a lot greener that [Garrott] thinks it will be," she said.
Sugar House resident Ben Burdett said the trolley line and greenway are really there for anybody who takes TRAX or the trolley.
The Utah Transit Authority is expected to break ground on the Sugar House trolley in the coming weeks.