ST. GEORGE – How should St. George plan for the future in regard to arts, parks and recreation? City officials have started the process of updating the city’s park and trail master plan and are looking to the public to help shape it.
Residents gathered on the third floor of the Dixie Academy building Tuesday evening in St. George for an open house to share ideas with city planners.
“Feedback is really important in bringing this plan together,” said Steve Duh, of Conservation Technix, a consulting firm hired by St. George to help move the plan forward.
The last time the city’s park and trail master plan was updated was 2006, with Tuesday’s public meeting being the first of three at which residents can share their thoughts and recommendations in shaping the future of the city’s parks, trails, arts, recreational facilities and programs.
City officials are calling the process “Envision St. George.”
“We want the public to help us envision what St. George will be in regard to parks and trails,” Mayor Jon Pike said.
St. George has become well known for its parks and trails, as well as recreational facilities like the 24-court pickleball complex in Little Valley that sees regular use.
Attendees were seated at tables and instructed to write down what they personally felt needed to be added and addressed in the master plan update, as well as decide what their table collectively felt was important.
An expansion of pickleball courts at the Little Valley complex, as well as additional pickleball courts in other areas of St. George, was a common theme among attendees.
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“Pickleball courts are very important,” said one man who had been selected to speak for his table.
He added that in order to bring a national pickleball tournament to St. George, the existing complex would have to be expanded.
Increasing the connectivity of the city’s trails was also repeatedly mentioned, which is also a goal of the St. George active transportation plan.
Other suggestions residents shared at the open house included:
- A dedicated performing arts center and concert venue.
- Benches with shade covers along trails.
- Creating a St. George community center similar to the one in Washington City.
- Bringing in a music festival of some kind.
- More festivals and cultural events as such wine and food-based ones.
- City-sponsored STEM programs focused on the city’s youth.
- Creating heritage preservation sites that would protect archaeological sites within city limits.
- Creating a shooting park on the outskirts of the city.
- Finding a way to better coordinate and consolidate activities, shows and events in St. George so residents have an easier way to know what’s going on. The information would be posted on a website or accessible via phone.
“That’s one of the reasons we do this,” Pike said, referring to the many opinions given. “We really want a broad spectrum of what people have to say.”
Though it was not mentioned during Tuesday’s open house, Pike said he’s been approached by young members of the community who have asked for a new skate park to be built on the east side of the city.
“We do have to balance all of this,” Pike said as he pointed to all of the requests for the master plan and what funding may be available to the city.
As the meeting concluded city staff began to collect the notes left by attendees that will be reviewed and potentially incorporated into the master plan.
Duh said Tuesday’s meeting would be followed by two others to be announced at a later date.
“This meeting was awesome,” SunRiver resident Wayne Fackerel said. “St. George has done a good job planning to this point and this shows they’re still looking ahead.”
Another resident, Richard Ranstrom, said he wondered if the city really would actually listen to what the public said.
“Whether it will have any influence or not, or if it’s just placating the population, I don’t know,” he said.
Both Ranstrom and Fackerel support the city having more pickleball courts.
Individuals who did not attend the open house can still offer their thoughts on the master plan update through a survey on the city’s website.
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