Feature graphic image credit: Design Workshop.
Glendale Regional Park, located on the west side of Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah, is a 17-acre park proposed on the site of an abandoned water park, Raging Waters/Seven Peaks park. Due to the significant repairs needed, no prospective operators were identified to lease the water park from the city. Instead, SLC's Public Lands Department purchased the site and set out to create a publicly accessible outdoor recreation area—a much desired resource for the Glendale neighborhood.
The precertification pathway
Landscape sustainability—and SITES certification—was an early goal for the team, which achieved SITES Gold precertification in September 2023. Administered by GBCI, SITES is a globally recognized standard for sustainable and resilient land design and development. Precertification is an optional, incremental pathway for projects in the planning phase to validate their preparedness for certification.
Precertified projects demonstrate how their sites will enhance biodiversity and mitigate climate change while conserving resources, improving public health and protecting critical ecosystems. To include community input in the process, the lead design firm, Design Workshop, hosted several open houses and community meetings for in-person input.
Highlighting the park's location on Utah’s Jordan River, Design Workshop included many river-centric amenities. Glendale is, in fact, a major link to parks and open spaces along the Jordan River Parkway Trail, with a boat drop-off, dock and ramp.
Other features of the new park include a full-size basketball court, a wheeled sports area, a hiking and sledding hill, a dog park, and a "flex lawn" and performance space. A shade structure in the park will be constructed from salvaged fiberglass slide sections rescued from the former water park.
The park improvements are designed not only for the region, but also as an investment in an underserved area on SLC's west side. To celebrate and preserve community culture and diversity, the park open spaces will include opportunities for large and small community events.
The phased project is a team effort led by Nancy Monteith, senior landscape architect, and planner Katherine Andra, both from SLC’s Public Lands Department. At the predesign public meetings, the Public Lands team learned that playfields, trails and water play, an all-abilities playground, and an outdoor swimming pool are important to the community. Phase two of the project will include an event area to accommodate performance arts and entertainment and restoration of a riparian area with native plants along the Jordan River.
Nancy Monteith, SLC Public Lands Department landscape architect, summarized ways sustainability can be achieved in the park: “Cultivating more biological diversity in our parks and natural areas, increasing our native plants and pollinator habitat programs…increasing our landscape resiliency to climate change by reclaiming our degraded landscape with beneficial plants, healthy soils, and habitats for birds and wildlife.”
The city plans to pursue full SITES certification for Glendale Regional Park, as well as other SLC parks currently on the drawing board, including the historic Pioneer Park. Glendale Regional Park will demonstrate how a city can create park spaces for both nature and people. Reconnecting the community to the Jordan River will also highlight the ecology of the region, including the quality of water that drains to the Great Salt Lake. In addition, community and regional park users will benefit from amenities designed to improve mental health and well-being.
The project team and contributing authors include the following organizations and individuals:
- Design Workshop: Ryan Williams and Claire Hempel. Design Workshop has other SITES projects in its portfolio, such as the Houston, Texas, Midtown Park, which earned SITES Silver certification in 2022.
- StudioVerde: Lisa Cowan and CeCe Haydock. StudioVerde was chosen as the SITES consultant for Glendale, leading all the certification efforts, including precertification.
- City of Salt Lake City: Nancy Monteith