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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Mastering open space within Cottonwood Heights

May 05, 2021 08:45AM ● By Cassie Goff

One day, a trail might run through Bywater Park to Bengal Boulevard. (Andy Hulka/PTOS Master Plan/Cottonwood Heights)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected] 

The Parks, Trails, and Open Space (PTOS) Committee for the City of Cottonwood Heights has been working with Community and Economic Development city staff members to create a Parks, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan for the city. As of publication, the Cottonwood Heights PTOS Master Plan has been drafted as a 51-page document incorporating suggestions from public comments sessions and is being revised for final consideration. 

“It has been a work in progress for a number of years and takes inventory of the existing parks, trails, and open space and makes recommendations for the future,” said senior planner Andy Hulka during a Planning Commission meeting on March 3. 

Those future recommendations include preserving the foothills along Wasatch Boulevard (as they are considered the scenic backdrop of the city) and requiring future developments/redevelopments to incorporate pedestrian walkways, public plazas, and greenspace where applicable. In addition, future amenities are requested, such as an off-leash dog park, mountain bike pump track, Frisbee golf course, stage for events and music, all-abilities park, and more pickleball courts. 

A handful of potential future parks, trails, and open spaces are described within the PTOS Master Plan as well. Two new parks are already in planning stages for the Canyon Centre (Canyon Centre Parkway along Wasatch Boulevard) and the Ferguson Canyon Trailhead Overflow Parking and Park (7721 Timberline Dr.). 

Future trails the PTOS Committee would like to see developed include: a Little Cottonwood Canyon Trail (from the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon to Wheeler Historic Farm (6351 S. 900 East); a Cottonwood Heights Loop (connecting various trails and bike lanes throughout the community district along Fort Union Boulevard); a trail along I-215 (connecting the Big Cottonwood Canyon Trail to the Union Park interchange); an Enchanted Valley Trail (starting near 7430 Wasatch Blvd. connecting through Enchanted Hills Drive and Bywater Park (3149 Banbury Road) to Bengal Boulevard); a trail along Wasatch Boulevard; and Bonneville Shoreline Trail connections. 

A handful of areas have been outlined for future open space including: commercial areas along Fort Union Boulevard; the Gravel Pit Development (along Wasatch Boulevard); the Old Mill area (6900 S. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road); the Porcupine Trail (connection point of the Big Cottonwood Canyon Trail and the Fort Union Park and Ride); and City Hall (2277 Bengal Blvd.). 

In considering future trails and open space, land acquisition is often necessary. The PTOS Master Plan outlines criteria for considering acquisition as: evaluating site context, scenic/aesthetic/sense of place, outdoor recreation/public use, public support factors, price, environment/ecology, historical/archaeological, education, and contributions. 

City staff and PTOS Committee members have identified various funding strategies including the city’s general fund, impact fees, bonds, private donations, and open space programs and grants such as the Central Wasatch Commission, community development block grants, Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation grants, County Tourism, Recreation, Culture & Convention (TRCC) grants, Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funding, and others.  

Within the PTOS Master Plan, the community within Cottonwood Heights is envisioned as healthy and active as they enjoy the “natural and urban outdoor world while improving environmental and physical health and at the same time being environmentally and fiscally responsible.”

Some of the city goals outlined are: acquiring passive open space areas; preserving open space; increasing biodiversity and habitat; increasing energy, fuel, and water conservation; improving air and water quality; improving the natural trail system; reducing infrastructure impacts; reducing heat from urban heat island effect; and reducing light and noise trespass. 

The PTOS Master Plan will replace the Parks and Open Space chapter (4) within the Cottonwood Heights General Plan as an addendum, once passed. It will serve as a guiding document for the city. 

The PTOS Committee was formed formally in spring 2019. Current PTOS Committee members include: Chair Jennifer Shah, Vice-Chair Ronna Cohen, Sarah Ricketts, Erin Davis, Matthew Dominesey, Melissa Fields, Greg Hilbig, Ben Hill, Bruce Jorgensen, Paula McFarland, Dave McFerren, Kristy Morrison, Chris Owens, and Greg Reid. Cottonwood Heights Councilmember Christine Mikell serves as the city council liaison. 

To submit any questions or comments about the PTOS Master Plan, email Cottonwood Heights Senior Planner Andy Hulka at [email protected]

To learn more about the PTOS Committee and/or Master Plan, visit the Parks, Trails, and Open Space (PTOS) page on the Cottonwood Heights City website.