Facebook Twitter



The restructuring of the Sugar House Park Authority continued Wednesday with the Salt Lake County Commission replacing one of its members on the board.

Gene Davis, a Democratic state representative from the Sugar House community, was named to replace Brent Cameron, who was serving as an interim member. The appointment requires the concurrence of the Salt Lake City Council before it becomes final.Although Cameron, county community services director, will no longer serve as a park director, he will continue to represent county interests on Sugarhouse Park matters.

If Davis' appointment wins city approval, he will join former Salt Lake Mayor Ted Wilson, former City Council member Ronald Whitehead and educator Connie Cannon as replacements of "old guard" directors. The four new board members will select a fifth member.

The appointment of the new members has provoked widespread controversy among residents and former directors who fear it signals a change in park management philosophies, despite denials from county commissioners and Mayor Deedee Corradini.

In recent years, some residents have advocated putting a recre-ation facility in the park. There have also been suggestions that the east side of the park could accommodate an improved baseball diamond for Highland High School.

In a statement released last week, Commissioners Jim Bradley, Randy Horiuchi and Brent Over-son attempted to reassure residents that the board changes aren't linked to any plan to change the park.

Corradini agreed, saying there are no plans to alter the popular park.

According to the mayor and commissioners, the new appointments are intended to make the park board more open and responsive to the public.

For his part, Davis said he doesn't intend to bring an agenda for change to the board. "I have always been supportive of the past park authority. I believe they did a great and admirable job," Davis said.

However, Davis said he considers the park a regional rather than a community facility, adding "whatever happens should be at the pleasure of the entire region."

The park was established in 1957 on the site of the territorial prison at 1500 E. 2100 South, with the city and county joining forces to maintain and operate the facility.

The new directors plan to begin their work next month with a park "walk-through" followed by a public hearing to gather input on the facility's future.