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Heber City calls this 'the year of parks'

An upgrade coming this year or next to Main Street Park in Heber City includes a new stage and pavilion area for concert-goers at the summertime Market on Main.
Heber City
An upgrade coming this year or next to Main Street Park in Heber City includes a new stage and pavilion area for concert-goers at the summertime Market on Main.

Heber City plans to build new parks and upgrade some of its most popular ones this year and next.

At the Heber City Council retreat at the beginning of 2023, Heber City Manager Matt Brower said if 2022 was the “year of infrastructure,” 2023 will be the “year of the parks.”

City planner Jamie Baron said residents will see results of the work his office is doing this year and next.

“So, the intent of this year being 'year of parks' is that we're getting the plans done for Muirfield and Coyote,” he said. “We're hoping to do some of those improvements this year, and I think some of those are going to happen in ‘24 as well.”

Coyote Park is part of the Coyote Ridge development, where a new neighborhood is taking shape across the highway from the North Fields after years of construction.

Plans for the 3-acre park just east of the Wasatch Canal include a spring-fed fishing pond, playground, pavilion and picnic shelters.

Muirfield is a playground and dog park where the city just placed a conservation easement on some new land. It’s planning boardwalks, trails, benches and fishing ponds. City officials also proposed a pavilion area there.

At the most recent city council work meeting, the group that runs the Starry Garden Farm and Montessori school proposed other ideas there, too.

Group leader Sandra Olsen said it would be a great place for another teaching farm, along with an amphitheater, botanical wildflowers garden and community garden. She also proposed making a separate dog park area so small dogs and large dogs could be separated.

Some council members expressed support, especially Mike Johnston. He said it would be a good use of city RAP Tax money, a sales tax Wasatch County voters approved in 2022 to fund recreation, arts and parks.

Russ Olsen said over time, they could use that land at the southern edge of the North Fields to benefit the community.

“This is a perfect area to educate people of all ages,” he said. “You get kids involved in the dirt and away from the computer and their phones, and they get really excited.”

He suggested the community farms idea is also a way to create more opportunities for groups such as 4H and Boys and Girls clubs.

Another park set to open this year is across the street from the high school in the Wasatch Vista development.

That’s also going to be the home of the fitness court with outdoor exercise stations the city has been trying to build for years after it got funding from a national nonprofit. It will feature equipment for body-weight exercises like pull-ups, incline situps and pushups on a square platform.

Baron said these new parks are both meant to give different pockets of the city their own places to go for fun, as well as offer different concepts for all residents to choose from.

“Variety is the spice of life, they say,” he said. “There's going to be parks in the North Village area, or other areas of the city that we might want to be more of a natural park. And so, we're trying to look at what are the levels of service for that, as opposed to a park that is your typical, maybe a tot lot, and you have an area where you have some baseball or frisbee or just have open play. We're trying to provide that variety all over the city, but we're also trying to provide different variety of recreation opportunities. Some people need the tot lot for their kids or some people just want to be able to have a trail.”

City planners also have big plans for Main Street Park, its most popular one and home of the summer Market on Main. After the farmer’s markets and concerts wrap up this August, the stage area will get a makeover.

The city plans to build a new band shell to cover a larger stage, along with a green room, bathrooms and pavilion. That pavilion includes spots for fire pits, hammocks, a splash pad and new playground.

Baron said the Main Street Park renovations will give focus to making new equipment accessible to people of all physical and mental ability levels. He said that’s a priority for all new park developments.

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