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Monday, June 22, 2015

Pilot Program for Off-Leash Dog Areas

Recently the County Council heard a presentation by our Parks and Recreation department about a pilot program for off-leash areas for dogs. Off-leash areas are not fenced and would be allowed in designated areas in already-operating county parks. This shouldn’t be confused with dog parks, which are fenced, have limited access and are only used for one purpose like Herman Franks, Millrace, Ron Wood parks. Each of these has specific areas used only as dog parks.

The Parks and Rec department is proposing this pilot to implement some of the information they gathered in 2008 for their “Off-Leash Dog Park Master Plan.” Once the program is finished they will be able to collect more public input and gather information on what they learned during the process.
Off-leash areas become more popular the more our county grows, but they aren’t without concerns. The county has to consider dog owners’ compliance with regulations, enforcement, water quality and natural area disturbance. The county did their best to mitigate those concerns by looking for diverse geographic layouts, existing dog owner utilization, and using lower programmed areas.

During the next year Parks and Rec will implement a pilot program and will do the following:

1. Work with Animal Control and Flood Control
2. Accomplish this with no budget impact
3. Use signage indicating off-leash areas
4. Install pet waste garbage cans in all locations
5. Monitor the following:
  • Patron Compliance
  • Water quality
  • Park conditions of turf, vegetation and wildlife
  • Neighborhood impact such as parking, noise, traffic and usage

As a Council, we are interested in feedback and will be reviewing these suggestions. Thanks to all of you who have already emailed and shared your thoughts on this issue!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Water Conservation is a must this summer

Last month I sponsored a resolution to encourage residents, businesses, and government entities to help conserve our water supply. I was grateful to have Councilmember Jenny Wilson support this resolution, along with the rest of the council. 

We’ve had the warmest, least snow-packed winter on record, and are in our fourth year of drought. Though Salt Lake County is not restricting water use, it is vital that we join together to help conserve this precious resource.

Because of these drought conditions, Salt Lake County is supportive of the recommendations by the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. This District services two-thirds of Salt Lake County and has done a great job helping to educate the public on ways to conserve water.

Some of these recommendations include turning sprinkler timers to manual mode and watering manually as needed, as well as following “Water after dark” practices of watering between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. For other ideas on how to plant drought-tolerant plants and grasses, visit the beautiful Conservation Gardens in West Jordan.

Salt Lake County has taken dramatic steps over the years to increase our conservation of water. Our parks and recreation department has made changes in the watering of our 5,000 acres of park space in our 104 parks. Some of these changes include: adjusting mowing habits and letting the grass grow longer, aerating a minimum of twice per year, and using a central irrigation system which monitors moisture content level in the turf and waters according to need. They are also evaluating turf areas that can be converted to low-water plantings.

With more than one million people in Salt Lake County and 600,000 more expected to live here by 2050, it is critical that we all make changes and adjust our watering habits, not just for this year, but for years to come.

We urge residents, businesses and governmental entities to join with us in supporting these waterwise best practices. For details on waterwise best practices, please see Jordan Valley Water's website:

Here are some of the news clips from KSL, KUTV, and ABC 4 from our press conference:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Building Healthy Communities

Information provided by Office of Township Services

Salt Lake County held the second annual Building Healthy Communities Conference last week. This conference was designed to help county employees, local government officials, and healthcare providers from across the county build connections and learn more about effective public health initiatives. I was glad I could attend and was able to meet some of the great people who serve in our communities.

Some of the highlights of the conference included a keynote address about providing medical care to service-resistant populations. Breakout sessions covered subjects such as the county’s Pay for Success programs, Housing First initiatives designed to combat homelessness, and Intermountain Healthcare’s community clinics. There was also a visit from the Mobile Greenhouse, courtesy of the Green Urban Lunch Box. This former school bus has been converted into a functioning, drive-able greenhouse to draw attention to the creative ways that fresh, local, and healthy food can be provided even in urban environments.

The Director of the Office of Township Services, Patrick Leary, was also present to speak about The Kearns Initiative, an effort to unite various government, nonprofit, business, and community interests in order to increase opportunity, development, and positive health outcomes in the Kearns Township. “The place-based initiative is about combining a variety of different efforts and bringing them together to make a holistic difference in the community,” he said.

Some steps that have already been taken include efforts to increase bike accessibility in the county, as well as a partnership between the Utah Food Bank and Kearns library to provide meals for underprivileged children who spend their afternoons at the library. In addition, the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and Salt Lake County are currently finding funding for the Oval Campus Project, an attempt to create a community center and expanded recreational outlets at the Olympic Oval. This project aims to spur economic development in the area, encourage healthy and active recreation opportunities, and preserve the historic Olympic Oval.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

ZAP Board Members appointed by County Council

Last Tuesday, June 2, the Salt Lake County Council appointed members of the 2015 Zoo Arts and Parks (ZAP) Recreation Board. This board will be responsible for hearing all of the presentations from ZAP applicants and vetting all of those proposals. They will then recommend those projects to the County Council for funding.

The County Parks and Recreation Master Plan will be available by mid-June and applications will be available in July. Applicants will have until October to turn them in.

The following people have been appointed to the board:

Community and At-large Members
Aimee McConkie-Millcreek
Carter Livingston-West Jordan
Eric Gardiner-Salt Lake City
Lisa Bagley-Millcreek
Corey Rushton-West Valley
Eliza McIntosh-Salt Lake City
Brett Halsten-Kearns
Micah Bruner-West Valley
Ralph Becker-Salt Lake City

Kim Rolfe-West Jordan
Rob Dahle-Holladay
Troy Walker-Draper
Carmen Freeman-Herriman

Open Space Representative 
Chris McCandless-Sandy

Parks and Rec Advisory Board
Mitzi Huff-Murray
Mike Peterson-Cottonwood Heights

Director SLCo Parks and Rec
Martin Jensen

Non-Voting Members
Erin Litvak-Director SLCo Community Services
Vicki Bourns-SLCo ZAP Program Director