And hope for revitalization

For the past 10 years, I have contacted the Springville Parks & Recreation department countless times about the Dry Creek Trail across the street from my house. I love the trail: over the years I have pushed strollers spilling with babies on this trail, my kids have thrown rocks into the creek in the spring, walked the dry snowy creek bed in the winter playing with cattails, and sledded down the small hill by the tracks. My kids and their friends call the muddy clay garbage heap “The Pit” and have found bones, gravestones, and skunks in the piles of waste the city brings from the cemetery in an attempt to prevent our neighbor’s yard from falling into The Pit. I run in the dark of the mornings on this trail. We love it. We have created memories here.

However, most children are banned from riding bikes on this trail because parents are tired of patching and replacing tires. The Dry Creek Trail is the perfect habitat for the infesting puncturevine, or goathead weed, that has infiltrated this unshaded, uncared for environment leaving sharp barbs on the pavement to pop tires, stick in shoes, and little feet. The lumpy, gopher-holed spaces beyond the paved trail are left alone in the warmer months because of painful weeds, heat, and unusability.

The trees are dying, and unfortunately, this beautiful space is wasted. What could be “an essential thread that weaves the fabric of the city together” (Master Plan, pg. 93) is an underutilized, forgotten eyesore of our neighborhood. On page 137 of the Springville Budget, it states:

City Parks will be well groomed and maintained at superior performance and safety standards at all times of the year . . . [Springville has a] vision to expand parks and trails that connect people to their community and provide creative recreation.

The Dry Creek Trail is below the standard in my opinion and should be addressed by the city. The Springville Parks and Trails Master Plan repeatedly states that there should be 5 acres of useable green space and parks for every 1,000 residents. As you can see on the maps below, Springville has done a fabulous job of this on the older, more established side of our city where time and money have been spent on beautiful parks and trails. However, here, on the Westside, due to Fieldstone going bankrupt 15-years-ago and the less established area, there is one park and thousands of residents beyond that one-mile radius.

Springville City Parks Brochure

In our LDS Stake alone, not including all of the residents who are not LDS, there are 1,059 children aged 0-11. Most of these children and their families are over a mile from a park. Parks and green spaces are vital to the health and connectedness of our communities, especially our children. In our area, the Dry Creek area, the majority of residents are not within a mile of a park and the one trail we do have is neglected.

For years the Springville Parks & Recreation department told me there was no funding for the Dry Creek Trail and had lists of excuses why the funds are better utilized elsewhere, for years I believed them. However, recently, I spoke to a city planner and the Director of Finance for Springville City and they assured me there is money. There are over 2 million dollars from a federal COVID grant, there are 4 million dollars in impact fees, there are 10 million dollars in a “buffer fund,” and there will be about $400,000 annually in the PAR tax fund starting next year. These millions of dollars aren’t even included in the annual $800,000 budget for Parks & Recreation.

I know there are so many needs and areas worth spending money on, but I also think the Dry Creek Trail is worth spending tax dollars on. My baby, who sat in the stroller I pushed on the trail full of goatheads, is now taller than me. I don’t want to wait any longer. There is funding, but we need City Council Members (the people with the financial power in Springville) to allocate the money to the Dry Creek Trail.

Springville city prides itself on its trees, arts, parks, and trails – it’s one of the reasons I live here! Specifically, Council Member Snelson has worked for years to implement a thirty-year plan for a massive trail system throughout Springville city demonstrated in the image below (which is fantastic!), but the city’s existing Dry Creek Trail is not being cared for and there are no plans set in place for it to be taken care of in the future.

My (ambitious) hope is that we can line-item the Dry Creek Trail into the budget for this coming year. $200,000 would be sufficient. The city council will vote on the budget on June 31. We need to convince at least three of them by then.

If we work together, I think we can make a change in our community. I believe we can transform our Dry Creek Trail into a place that draws people in, a place where we can enjoy the beauty of nature, promote health and curiosity, and get rid of those awful poky weeds. The Dry Creek Trail could be a place that reflects the goodness and beauty of the people who live here.

This is the approach I plan to use in my meeting on May 5th at 2:45 on the Dry Creek Trail: make the Dry Creek Trail something that is unique to Springville city. Something that captures the beauty of the incredible, welcoming, and kind people in the Dry Creek Area. Something that will last long after we are gone; a space for generations of Springvillians to feel gratitude and belonging. Nature has a magical way of healing us.

Please read this Park Prospectus written by Mary Grey, a Springville Resident:

Jessie’s Brook Gratitude Park

Here are some resources for natural landscaping and habitats:

Landscaping on the New Frontier