Knudsen Park nearly ready for grand openingApr 29, 2019 08:34AM ● By Justin Adams
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Holladay’s newest park is nearing completion as the city prepares for its official grand opening and ribbon cutting later this month.
Knudsen Park is situated in the southeast corner of the city, at the end of Holladay Boulevard. For over a year, Holladay City has been working on turning what used to be an unofficial “dumping ground” into a pristine city park and preserved open space.
When it is finished, the 7.3-acre park will include a playground, a pavilion, multiple picnic tables, bathrooms and a water feature for children to play in.
There are also multiple “hammock gardens,” which consist of three posts situated in such a way that you can hang up multiple hammocks between them. Assistant City Manager Holly Smith said that feature was added after receiving input from the public about what they’d like to see in the park.
“Apparently that’s what the kids are into these days,” she said.
What really sets Knudsen Park apart from other parks is how Big Cottonwood Creek runs through it, giving the park a very natural feel.
“It’s a passive nature park,” explained Paul Allred, Holladay’s community development director. Allred said there were conversations about designating the park for organized sports, which would require things like lights and a larger parking lot. Instead the city opted for a design that preserved an open-space feel.
At one time, there was a possibility that the space would never become a park of any kind.
“Some people wanted to save this for economic development,” said Allred. “They wanted to do offices and restaurants here. Our city council was pretty courageous. They said, ‘No, we need another open space.’ I thought that was really visionary.”
Of course, wanting to build a park and having the funds to do it are two different things.
The city of Holladay acquired the land soon after its incorporation and always planned to turn it into a park or nature preserve of some kind, according to Holladay Mayor Rob Dahle. But the city, which runs on a very tight budget, never had the funds to do so. When Dahle came into office, locating funding for the project was one of his goals.
“As soon as I got into office I started asking about potential funding,” he said.
That search led to an application to Salt Lake County’s Zoo, Arts and Parks fund. Holladay’s application was chosen, which resulted in the city receiving $2.7 million to build the park.
“Our vision is to take every opportunity we have in Holladay to identify any open space which we can protect for our residents, and that’s what we’ve done at Knudsen Park,” said Dahle.
Although the park hasn’t officially opened yet, it’s already being used by many Holladay residents.
One Holladay resident whose property borders the park said she takes her children there almost every day. She said the convenience of having such a nice park so close to their home outweighs the accompanying inconveniences, like decreased privacy.
She said the city worked with all the neighboring property owners throughout the design process, addressing their concerns and even changing major parts of the park’s layout in order to minimize the impact to homeowners’ privacy.
Many people have already been taking advantage of the park before its grand opening thanks to its trail connectivity. A bike trail extends from the park below I-215 where it connects with the Old Mill Bike Trail, which in turn connects to Big Cottonwood Canyon.
“A lot of people that work in the Old Mill area have started using it to commute to work, or even just come here to enjoy their lunch,” said Allred.
The city still has some work to do before the park’s grand opening, like finishing the bathrooms and the water structure, but Smith said everything is on track to be ready for the May 22 ribbon-cutting ceremony.