ST. GEORGE — In a public meeting Thursday, the SunRiver St. George Community Association board of trustees asked the St. George City Council to consider converting Sun River Parkway west of where the road intersects with Angel Arch Drive into a public park.
The stretch of the city-owned road within the SunRiver retirement community remains unfinished in anticipation of a possible western transportation corridor being constructed in the area. However, any work on the conceptual corridor would not begin for more than a decade, leaving a dead end in the road in the meantime.
“The solution that we see is to replace the dead end with a minipark,” association board of trustees President Dave Patten said.
The board has identified several issues with the stretch of road in its current incomplete state, such as poor appearance, illegal parking, people washing and detailing vehicles in the road and poor traffic control for motorists turning onto Angel Arch Drive.
Patten said such issues could be mitigated or eliminated if a park were to be built in place of the dead end until the proposed western corridor begins construction in an estimated 18-23 years, if it is ever approved.
“We’re not talking about a park that would have a lot of pavilions and grass,” he said. “We’re talking about a desert landscape … something that’s not going to take a lot of maintenance or water.”
While the idea is only conceptual at this point, the board suggested that such a park could include xeriscape landscaping and a path for walking, biking and golf carts that connects with area trails.
The park would be a public space open to all residents of St. George funded and planned by the city.
Councilman Ed Baca questioned whether SunRiver would provide any funding for such an endeavor.
Patten said the board recently finished a two-year study on possible facility expansions in SunRiver, which concluded that residents are not in favor of spending association money on community expansion.
“That’s one area where I don’t have to go to a poll relative to this park,” Patten said. “The answer will be that the community is not behind spending the money to do something like that.”
However, Patten said the retirement community has already contributed several million dollars to the city in the form of parks and recreation impact fees.
“We’re also fairly inexpensive to maintain because we do all our own streets and sidewalks and that stuff in the community,” Patten said.
Mayor Jon Pike said the city would only consider moving on the idea after hearing from the community’s homeowners association board and as many residents as possible, adding that it would need to be clear to all parties that the park would be open to the public.
A written memorandum would also need to clearly record that the city would revert the park into a road if the proposed western corridor were to go forward, Pike said.
Because the meeting was purely informational, members of the City Council made no formal indication of their position on the proposed park. Pike suggested the board meet with park planners and the city manager to work out a rough idea of the legal and financial feasibility of the proposal.
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