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Council creates wish list for Veterans Memorial Park future

Feb 23, 2022 07:47PM ● By Erin Dixon

Drivers compete in the Western Stampede Demolition Derby in 2018 at the rodeo arena, one feature of the Veterans Memorial Park. (File photo City Journals)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

The West Jordan City Council reviewed the Master Plan from 2005 for the Veterans Memorial Park (1985 West 7800 South) in February this year.

All council members expressed ideas and hopes for the park’s future, and city staff was directed to collect information about the cost and feasibility of these ideas.

What was on the council wish list, and how much of it is possible with the current budget?

The park as it stands features the Viridian library, rodeo arena, several playgrounds including the “Wild West,” open space, pavilions, Veteran Memorial and more.

All seven members of the council agreed to keep the annual events, from Veterans Memorial ceremonies and breakfast to the Western Stampede Demolition Derby.

Councilmember Chris McConnehey, who spearheaded the discussion, expressed an interest in using the rodeo grounds more often.

“Motocross and snowmobiles, drone races, [to encourage] better use out of the arena,” McConnehey said. “Not necessarily city sponsored events but encourage third-party events, even a paintball tournament.”

Councilmember Melissa Worthen suggested adding some infrastructure, permanent electrical wiring for example, to make set up for rodeo users easier.

Other suggestions for improving the rodeo arena were to build permanent shade, pave the parking lot, install flagpoles, and build a kitchen and dining area for sponsor dinners.

Councilmember Zach Jacob suggested the turf grass around the park could be made more waterwise, replacing unusable grass with decorative desert space.

Ideas for additions to other areas of the park include a skate park, amphitheater, pickleball and improvements to the Museum. 

At the end of the discussion, Chief Administrative Officer for the Mayor Korban Lee expressed concerns.

“I’ve heard about $20 million in asks tonight,” Lee said. “We’re about to pull the trigger on going out to bid and starting construction on the Art Center, which is $2.5 million short of being funded. I love all this, but it’s a lot more in staff resources, capital project resources, sponsorships and creating funding. It’s a lot of the wish list without the tradeoffs and hard decisions.”

In response to this, Whitelock asserted that this is their “vision for the future. A failure to have a plan is a plan to fail.”

“We’re giving you an idea of what we would like and what it would take to get us there,” Whitelock said. “We just want to know what we can get from you, what is possible.”

Resident Bonnie Young often watches City Council meetings and is involved as much as she can be.

“The Council workshop meeting last night offered up a lot of ideas to improve West Jordan, many of which are recreational in nature,” Young said. “Supposedly, strategic planning is used to guide budget development. I look forward to seeing how the mayor and the council apply dollars to their priorities.”

She also referenced the Art Center project that is already underway.

“I am concerned that the city will begin spending several million dollars for construction of a major facility (the Arts Center) without identifying from where they will secure the balance of funds for completion of the facility,” Young said.

“Additionally, I’m not aware of a budget plan for the ongoing Operation and Maintenance of this facility. We are talking about a lot of money!”

West Jordan Communications Officer Tauni Barker clarified to the City Journals that, “staff will take all of Council’s requests and create a budget for each. Council will have the opportunity to select which projects are worthy of funding.”