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New Salt Lake County community outreach official gets an earful about problems at Vista Park in Taylorsville

Jul 27, 2017 02:52PM ● Published by Carl Fauver

Taylorsville Councilwoman Kristie Overson (right) and community council members meet with Salt Lake County’s new community outreach manager (center). (Carl Fauver)

Gallery: community outreach [5 Images] Click any image to expand.

New Salt Lake County employee Tiffany Clawson, the county’s community engagement and outreach manager, recently got an earful at a Taylorsville City office meeting.

“The (Salt Lake County) Mayor (Ben McAdams) wants to create a new way for residents to raise any concerns they may have,” Clason said.  “As outreach manager they’ve asked me to host a series of meetings to learn what people are thinking and what the county might be able to do to assist with any issues.”

Those meetings are now underway—one or two each month, Clason said—throughout the 19 cities and metro townships in Salt Lake County. The first was in Magna, and the second one was at the Taylorsville City offices.  

However, only four city residents turned out, including Councilwoman Kristie Overson, who wasn’t thrilled with the scheduling.

“If the county really wants to hear what people are thinking, 1:00 on a Tuesday afternoon in the summer is probably not the best time,” she said.

In fact, the only reason any members of the general public turned out is that Overson specifically asked members of her neighborhood community council to be there.

From Taylorsville Community Council 2A, Chairman Larry Hiller, Vice Chair Lloyd Hegland and his wife, Council Secretary Barbara Hegland, took Overson up on the offer.  

And they only had one concern on their minds: the maintenance and upkeep of Vista Park (2000 West 5000 South).

The massive park features baseball and softball diamonds, along with brand-new playground equipment, a walking path, pavilion and other amenities.

Council Chairman Hiller reported that the new playground equipment installed this past spring cost $250,000.

Crews are also busy this summer installing several park benches around the playground and along the adjacent footpath.

But the council members told Clason the park’s problems are more associated with the ballparks.

“Ball diamond lights are sometimes left on too late, there isn’t adequate parking, the sound systems are often too loud and litter is a constant problem,” Lloyd Hegland said.  “Then when crews come to mow, they don’t pick up the garbage, so one plastic bottle gets cut into 20 pieces and spread all over the grass.”

To illustrate the problems, community council members led Clason on a tour of the park following their meeting.

“I grew up in Louisiana, where we didn’t have nearly the nice amenities we have here,” Clason told the council members. “We just didn’t have the kinds of parks, libraries and fitness centers as (the Salt Lake Valley) has. I know the mayor (McAdams) and the County Parks and Recreation Department want to do everything they can to keep them nice.”

The council members suggested county officials do more to compel the baseball and softball leagues to require their participants to better clean up their trash.

“It would also help if we knew the county’s lawn mowing schedule,” Lloyd said. “Then we could get over there the night before to help pick up garbage, before it is cut into thousands of pieces.”

The shortage of parking spaces is most acute near the four-diamond softball complex, at the northeast corner of the park. Officials at the adjacent LDS church have been very liberal about allowing people to use their parking lot.

“But even with that, we still get cars parked all up and down our nearby streets,” Lloyd said. “Sometimes they block driveways. It’s particularly bad when the ball diamonds host tournaments with multiple teams, some from out of state.”

After viewing the Vista Park issues firsthand, Clason promised council members she would raise their concerns with county officials. 

The new community engagement and outreach manager also told Overson she will try to better publicize future meetings.

“We’re still playing around with the times too,” Clason added. “Our first meeting, in Magna, drew only two community members. That one was in the morning. Now this meeting also drew only a few people. So we’ll probably look at more evening meetings, along with additional ways to publicize them.” 

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