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STORYTELLERS MAY MOVE TO CANYON

The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival may soon have a home in the shadow of its namesake.

Orem city is moving ahead with plans for a 84-acre park on city-owned and leased property north of the Murdock Diversion Dam in Provo Canyon. The park would include a variety of recreational amenities.But it could also become the site of the story festival, a fund-raising activity organized annually by the Friends of the Library.

"The Friends are thrilled about that as a future daytime location," said Janet Lowe, children's librarian. "We need to have this other-worldliness about the location. The fact that it can be within Orem, but at the edge of the `real' world, is exactly what we're looking for."

The Friends would use the park for daytime events and continue to stage nightly concerts at the Scera Amphitheater. The festival's daytime activities are now held at Ashton Gardens, the private home of WordPerfect co-founder Alan Ashton.

The gardens can be used for another year or two, but "we do want to be too big for where we're at now very soon," Lowe said.

The Friends hope to keep the continuity of the festival. But the primary sticking point of cities - money - may prevent Orem from developing the park as quickly as it's needed. In the interim, the council suggested moving it to Scera Park.

But the ball is rolling on the canyon park. The council authorized staff to spend up to $10,000 creating two park designs for the property: one with the festival and one without. The festival would need seven to 10 sites, joined by walkways, for the large tents it uses as theaters for the sto-ry-tellers.

Last September, the city's Recreation Advisory Commission came up with a conceptual plan for the park that the more detailed drawings will be based on.

The commission proposed a day picnic area, a nature interpretive trail, a 5-mile mountain bike trail system, a fitness/jogging path, a shallow pond for ice skating in the winter, three pavilions, horseshoe pits, a volleyball court, children's play area and possibly an overnight campground.

"This plan provides that the park be left a great deal in its natural state," said City Manager Daryl Berlin.

The city expects the park will cost about $1 million to build. There is no money earmarked for the project.

"It's rare to have this kind of land and rare to have that kind of festival," said City Councilman Chris Yandow. "If we can get the two together it would be won-der-ful."