NIBLEY – If the <a href=”http://nibleycity.com/images/Nibley_Parks_and_Rec_Draft_4-26-2017.pdf” target=”_blank”>city’s draft</a> of the Parks, Trails, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan passes as proposed, Nibley will aim to establish itself as a recreational destination for Cache Valley.
The city currently has nine parks in operation, but if all goes as hoped, more than a dozen new parks will be created and at least five of those will be at least partially completed in the next 10 years.
Those parks will be integrated with trails, recreation areas and open space. City Planner Stephen Nelson said the plan hasn’t been updated for seven years. He is hoping to receive as much input as possible during an upcoming open house and a planning commission public hearing Wednesday, March 17 at 5 p.m. Another public hearing will take place with the city council a little more than two weeks later.
“The city council should take it up at the beginning of June to adopt the final version,” Nelson said.
Some of the goals include establishing a park within walking distance of 90 percent of city residents, creating a network of trails, preserving open space for both wildlife and farmers and to making the plan fiscally possible.
Nelson said close to 50 percent of the city’s population is less than 18 years old, emphasizing that the young population makes outdoor recreational activities a priority.
“Citizens have told us that’s what they wanted,” he said. “They want park space, they want trails, they want recreation. As we’ve implemented different aspects of outdoor recreation and other recreation activities the public has been very supportive.”
If all parks are completed as planned, the Nibley Regional Park will by far be the largest, boasting two softball diamonds, two little league baseball diamonds, four soccer fields, an indoor recreation center, four multi-purpose fields, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, a splash pad, restrooms and a pavilion. The plan is to complete the 50-acre sports park in phases, finishing the first six acres along with the splash pad, tennis courts, restrooms and pavilions in the next 10 years.
The highest priority under the proposed plan is Firefly Park – a nature park designed to allow visitors to interact with nature and protect the city’s firefly habitat. At 20-acres it would be significantly larger than Heritage Park, which at 13.5 acres, is the current largest.
Nelson said work on Firefly Park will start before the other because of a recent grant.
“We received $1.2 million in grant funds to build our parks,” he said, “and with those grant funds comes a time table that we have to implement.”
Another high-priority park will be built near the city’s east entrance, close to Ridgeline High School. According to the proposal, the 2.44-acre RiverHawk Park “will provide access to the Blacksmith Fork River and the proposed Stokes Nature Center with gazebos, tables, and benches to encourage family use.”
The smallest of the parks is also expected to be one of the first established. In the plan, Veteran’s Memorial Park is described as “a quiet, contemplative garden for visitors” and will be located on the same lot as city hall.
“We’ll have some type of statue or memorial to veterans of the military and their service and sacrifice,” Nelson said. “We already have money in our budget to make those improvements.”
The historic Morgan Farm will get a makeover if the plan is approved, but according to Nelson, it won’t likely be started until after the Firefly, Veterans Memorial and RiverHawk Parks. Once completed, it will continue to function as a working farm, but also be a place for community gatherings. The land will provide almost eight acres of open green space and the barn will be refurbished and used as an event center.
The complete list of plans can be found <a href=”http://nibleycity.com/images/Nibley_Parks_and_Rec_Draft_4-26-2017.pdf” target=”_blank”>here.</a>