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S.L.'s Curtis Park is spruced up

Sara Charlie Lopez tries out equipment at revamped, ADA-accessible playground at Genevieve Raine Curtis Park near Foothill Village.
Sara Charlie Lopez tries out equipment at revamped, ADA-accessible playground at Genevieve Raine Curtis Park near Foothill Village.
Natalie Clemens

Two decades after its original construction, a Salt Lake neighborhood park got a face lift.

The minipark, which spans about two acres just west of Foothill Village, was built in 1984 and named after Genevieve Raine Curtis. Ellen R. Reddick, chairwoman of the Bonneville Hills Community Council, said the 21-year-old park needed some major improvements.

Reddick said the council has been trying for several years to get the park updated.

"Dave Buhler, our City Council person, finally gave it the last push and got it through and got us the funding a year and a half ago," Reddick said.

But the project didn't start until last spring and was completed about a month ago.

"The minute everything was in, people were swarming there," Reddick said.

Several young families have moved into the area near the park, and Reddick said that has made it busier.

She said the landscape was regraded to meet ADA requirements. New playground equipment, benches, an arbor structure and a bike rack were added.

"They have just done a beautiful job, and we are really excited," Reddick said. "It's the only park in the area, and it's highly used."

Michelle Ford, Bonneville Hills Community Council member, said the park is a lot safer now.

"Before, the park equipment was metal, and it was not designed for younger children," Ford said. "It was always hot, and there were wider gaps between the bars."

Ford said the park had no garbage cans or lights.

Sidewalks were added to connect the park to nearby Foothill Village at the south side and west entrance of the Village.

"The part that I am really proud of is the sidewalks," Ford said. "Because now people can walk from the community to the Village with a lit path and a sidewalk."

A monument to Genevieve Raine Curtis was placed at the southeast corner of the park. More than a dozen of her descendents visited the park Sept. 10 during a rededication of the site. Her grandson, Lee Curtis, spoke at the rededication/ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"On behalf of the family, I want to thank the city," Lee Curtis said. "We are grateful to have a place where children can continue to play safely and have an enjoyable park."

Genevieve Raine Curtis was born in 1879 and died in 1968. In 1896 she organized and taught kindergarten in her mother's basement. Curtis served as the Salt Lake City PTA president in 1936 and was the first woman to be elected to the Salt Lake City School Board in 1941.

The park sits were the old Curtis school, also named after Genevieve Raine Curtis, was located.

"We're very grateful that her memory was preserved and has been perpetuated after the school closed, through this park," Lee Curtis said.

The Lopez family, who lives just two houses down from the park, is also grateful for the improvements. Carlos Lopez said his 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Sara Charlie Lopez, enjoys the new playground.

"We love it," Carlos Lopez said. "It's convenient. The condition of the park before was not that great. Now she (Sara) has a place to play."

Reddick, who lives just two blocks away, also enjoys the new equipment. She said she likes the swings the most.

"There's nothing like going up on a summer evening and swinging back and forth," Reddick said.