Skip to main content

Cottonwood Heights Journal

Preserving open space with Cottonwood Heights' new committee

Oct 17, 2018 10:09AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Fifteen members of the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Committee have been appointed. (Dan Metcalf/Cottonwood Heights)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

The Parks, Trails, and Open Space Committee is the newest group to join Cottonwood Heights. The city council unanimously approved the creation of the committee and the appointments of 15 members on Aug. 28. 

“The committee will perform research and outreach to help preserve outdoor recreational and open spaces with the intent of enhancing the quality of life in Cottonwood Heights,” Public Information Officer Dan Metcalf wrote. 

“I believe it’s critical that we plan for the future growth of our city and at the same time ensure our planning preserves appropriate amounts of open space, develops parks, provides connectivity between our neighborhoods, and supports active transportation,” said Mayor Mike Peterson. “As the population of the valley continues its rapid growth, we need be sensitive to the pressures this puts on our canyons, parks and open spaces.”

When the resolution was passed during a city council meeting, all appointed members were asked to briefly speak to their individual appointments. 

“Cottonwood Heights’s proximity to the foothills and recreation is the greatest asset the city has,” said committee member for Council District 4 Melissa Fields. 

Ecosystem ecologist by training, committee member for District 4 Jennifer Follstad Shah is looking forward to serving on this committee. “We moved here in 2006 by finding out which neighborhood was adjacent to a trail system. We spend all of our free time outside.”

“I’ve spent the last eight years exploring in the outdoors and haven’t stopped,” laughed committee member for District 4 Ronna Cohen. 

Committee member for District 4 Fritz Kollmann has lived in the city for seven years and has previous experience with open space from working at Red Butte Gardens. 

“I moved here because of the open spaces,” said committee member for District 4 Roger Kehr. 

Committee member for District 4 Bruce Jorgensen is a retired landscape architect. “I’m very enthusiastic about open space and trials. I’ve been doing it for years.” Jorgenson helped to prepare an open space plan and trail system for Parley’s Canyon in 1992. 

“I raised three kids here. We are very active in reserving parks,” said committee member for District 3 Kristy Morrison. 

Currently a University of Utah student, committee member for District 2 Matthew Dominesey has worked with employees in Little Cottonwood Canyon. “I have various experience loving our local canyons. I’m looking forward to creating sustainable use for our future.”

 “I moved here in 2011 to be close to the mountains and parks,” said committee member for District 2 Sarah Ricketts. 

With previous experience working for the Forest Service and serving as staff on one of Draper City’s committees, committee member for District 1 Greg Hilbig is excited to “help get through the red tape as things go.” 

“I’m a fairly new resident to the city. I have background in real estate and Geology/GIS,” said committee member for District 1 Bonnie McCallister. 

“I’ve lived in Cottonwood Heights for 31 years, and have been involved with working on keeping parks safe,” said committee member for District 1 Erin Davis. 

Additional members of the Parks, Trails, and Open Space Committee include Dave McFerren, District 3; Greg Reid, District 3; and Ben Hill, committee member for the Recreation Service District. 

Cottonwood Heights City Councilmember for District 4 Christine Mikell will serve as council liaison for the committee. She was asked to serve because of her passions and pursuits with outdoor recreation and her interest for access along the east bench. Community and Economic Development Director Mike Johnson will serve as the staff liaison for the committee as well. 

“In my career, I've been involved with numerous parks and recreation advisory boards, but I’ve never been more impressed than I am with the talents and skills I see with our new board. I’m excited to see them get to work and look forward to seeing the results of their efforts,” Peterson said. 

He hopes the Parks, Trails and Open Space Committee can help the city council put plans into place to support the development of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, protect the natural beauty and provide activities for Crestwood Regional Park, look for an appropriate location for a city dog park, create appropriate access to all our canyons, enhance partnerships with other political entities to jointly plan for conservation, and create a city open space plan. 

The Parks, Trails, and Open Space Committee plans to meet monthly. The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 24, where they plan to draft a vision statement addressing their objectives, goals and priorities.