Park's still coming along in Hyde Park after 30 years
in the making
By Brad Plothow
March 14, 2006 | HYDE PARK -- It could be called Three
That's because, from its inception to projected finish
date, Lions Park is expected to take nearly 30 years
to complete. Funding issues and land acquisition are
a few of the blights Hyde Park's city council has had
to contend with to build the recreation area, which
has a $1 million price tag and is slated to have its
first phase finished early next year.
"We just kind of have to build as we go along," said
Councilman Charles Wheeler of the park, which has been
on Hyde Park's to-do list since the late 1980s. "We're
a small community and have limited resources."
Lions Park will begin looking more like, well, a park
after about 50 trees and shrubs, funded in part by a
$1,000 grant from the Utah Conservation Corps, are planted
during a celebration at the park on April 22. Wheeler
expects the park to be completely useable, albeit still
not completed, within four years.
In the next few months, a second set of playground
equipment is slated to be installed, landscaping should
be done on the parking lot, the pavilion is expected
to be extended and a trail is scheduled to be paved
to loop around the park's first phase.
After both phases are completed -- which, depending
on funding, could take as many as 10 years -- Lions
Park will include two adjoining trails (one in each
phase), two playgrounds, an amphitheatre, a sprinkler
system, multiple parking lots and picnic areas.
Paying for the project has been touchy for Hyde Park,
which has a slim tax base. So, council members have
had to get creative in how they acquired the land for
the park and then paid for its construction.
"We made land trades and wheeled and dealed with (Hyde
Park residents) until we came up with the boundaries,"
No land was taken using eminent domain, Wheeler said.
It was all acquired via trades and purchases.
Once the park's boundaries were drawn, Wheeler said
the council had to get creative with how to make the
city's meager budget -- about $120,000 from the general
fund is budgeted for the park -- spread the concrete
as far as possible. That meant building the park's perimeter
infrastructure by improving roads. Some of the park's
grading and sidewalks were finished by developing adjacent
residential areas, such as Shadow Bluffs, and upgrading
With a meager budget, it's all about killing as many
birds with the same budget appropriation, Wheeler said.
"It's amazing how interconnected things get," he said.
Hyde Park's miserly approach is due to its shallow
tax pool, as only about 20 small-to-medium-sized businesses
are part of the city's base, Wheeler said. The Juniper
Inn restaurant generated about $10,000 a year in sales
tax for the city before it was destroyed in a fire about
two years ago, leaving a major income hole for the city.
The park project is currently financed at about $80,000
per year, thanks to the general fund appropriation,
housing impact fees ($1,093 for each new home), and
a few grants.
Hyde Park's slow, fiscally-restrained approach to
building the park has had plenty of benefits for the
community, Wheeler said. Utah State University landscape
design students got hands-on experience when they developed
plan proposals for the park, and many members of the
community have rallied to offer volunteer services and
in-kind donations to keep the project moving.
Now the council is looking for help from the Boy Scouts,
Wheeler said. The council is slated to receive the community's
input on the park project, as well as solicit the help
of scouts looking for Eagle projects, during a Friday
meeting at the Hyde Park Civic Center March 17.
Another outside-the-box approach to move along Three