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Salt Lake County park is a dream fulfilled

Woman's 14-year quest finally pays off

Skyler Kunz, 3, of Cottonwood Heights, plays at Golden Hills Park during the park's dedication ceremony at 8303 Wasatch Blvd. in Cottonwood Heights Wednesday.
Skyler Kunz, 3, of Cottonwood Heights, plays at Golden Hills Park during the park's dedication ceremony at 8303 Wasatch Blvd. in Cottonwood Heights Wednesday.
Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — It was 14 years ago when Edy Wright approached Cottonwood Heights and Salt Lake County leaders, wondering how a densely wooded area off Wasatch Boulevard could be transformed into a community park.

She was shocked to find out it was zoned for high-density homes — but she was encouraged by the support for her dream.

"I thought 'Oh no, this is the only piece of land available between the two canyons,"' said Wright, a retired 37-year resident of Cottonwood Heights. "But the park has really already become the heart of our community. ... This has been a long journey, but a most delightful one because I am the beneficiary."

On Wednesday, Golden Hills Park had its official dedication and opening at 8303 Wasatch Blvd. The park sits right between Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood canyons, which allows for striking views of the canyons.

"You don't find new parks with mature trees. It's a beautiful, established park already," said Bruce Henderson, director of county Parks and Recreation.

Henderson was one of many current and former parks and recreation leaders attending the event who worked for years to get the park up and running.

The 5.3-acre community park was purchased by the county in 1997 for $1 million. Some $787,000 was invested in design and construction by the county and city. The end result includes a playground, tennis court, walking trail and pavilion.

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon noted how long it took for the park to finally come to life because of changes in county government from a commission to a council and Cottonwood Heights' incorporation in 2005.

Wright first approached the city and county with her idea in 1993.

Still, Golden Hills Park two years ago was a zero-line item on the county's budget. But the night the budget was to be adopted, Wright and other residents marched in with a passionate plea to council members to fund the park. That night, the county found the money for the park.

Corroon praised Wright for keeping the idea of the park alive. As did Council Chairman Mark Crockett, who also praised the community's backing.

"This city does so much and they often get left out of county funding because of it. They deserved this," Crockett said.

Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore Jr. jokingly refers to the park as the "Garden of Edy."

"We have great citizens who have a vision and know what they want to accomplish," he said.

Wright, a self-described tree hugger, is proud to see her goal accomplished. And she isn't done with her park activism — she is pushing for shrubs to be planted along Wasatch Boulevard to cut down on traffic noise. She hopes money from a park fund-raiser several years ago can be used for the extra landscaping.

"I used to call it my baby. But now it's 14 years old," said Wright. "I'll take my grandchildren here so they can learn to ride their bikes."