Residents Prefer Parks and Trails Over Golf, SLC Study Says

By Katie McKellar (, SLC Deseret News article linkSLCQuote

SLC Mayor Press Release
SLC Survey Results
Our Own ArrowCreek Demographic Survey

SALT LAKE CITY — Poll results are in, and they’re reaffirming city leaders’ decision to close at least two city golf courses: Glendale and Jordan River Par-3.

Two surveys contracted by Mayor Ralph Becker’s office indicate that Salt Lake City residents want open space, parks and trails, but aren’t as interested in golf.

City Councilman Kyle LaMalfa, whose district encompasses Glendale, said the results illustrate how Salt Lake residents’ recreation preferences are changing.


“I think Salt Lake, as progressive as we are about many things, is way behind the times for trails,” LaMalfa said. “Cities like Logan, Ogden, Provo, Orem and St. George are way ahead, and the results of this poll suggest that it’s time to get Salt Lake City up to snuff with regards to our urban trails.”


The City Council was presented the findings this week as it considers whether to place a recreation bond on the ballot in November to help fund repurposing of the courses’ green space.

It’s still undecided how much residents would be asked to pay if voters approve the bond, but the mayor’s staff will be using the poll’s results to assemble a package for City Council consideration in July, LaMalfa said.

Together, the surveys reached roughly 1,500 residents. A telephone poll conducted June 1-8 reached 406 residents, equally representing all seven City Council districts, and presented findings with a 5 percent margin of error.

The rest of the information was collected in May at a series of town hall meetings where residents were allowed to vote more than once and attend multiple meetings.

When residents were asked in the telephone survey, “What would you do with repurposed Glendale Golf Course and Jordan River Par-3,” only 6 percent answered “keep the golf courses,” according to the results.

In response to the same question, 31 percent said “parks and playgrounds,” 13 percent said “open or green spaces,” 5 percent said “sports fields and facilities,” and 19 percent said “don’t know or no opinion.”

According to Lindsey Ferrari of Wilkinson Ferrari & Co., which helped with the polling, 26 percent said “other” and produced answers that leaned toward multiuse spaces and recreational facilities, including swimming pools and climbing walls.

Councilwoman Lisa Adams said she has been contacted by constituents who worried the questions were phrased in a way that excluded golf as an option, but said she was confident the surveys allowed for open-ended answers.

City officials said answers showed residents have a strong interest in adding new parks and recreation opportunities, including unpaved trails, urban farms, nature centers, mountain biking parks, and engagement in water-related sports such as kayaking along Jordan River.

Residents also want the city to take better care of existing facilities by maintaining parks, implementing sustainable principles, and switching to secondary water for irrigation wherever possible.

In fact, residents’ answers even showed they’d be willing to help pay for the investments.

When the telephone survey asked, “How much would you be willing to pay per month to support this bond?” the largest group, 32 percent, said $10 or more, the highest option the survey provided. Other answers were spread out among lower numbers, but 21 percent said $4 to $6, and 13 percent said they would pay nothing.

“There appears to be a groundswell of community support, and there’s every reason to keep this moving forward,” LaMalfa said.

Adams pointed out that many of the protesters who attended a rally last weekend to keep the Glendale Golf Course open were not Salt Lake City residents.

LaMalfa said judging from his constituents’ feedback, the survey results seem to accurately reflect their wishes and their interest in golf. He said while Salt Lake City welcomes visitors, it’s residents’ voices should have more weight when considering changes to their neighborhoods.

“It’s hard to feel strongly about supporting the golf system with Salt Lake City taxpayers’ money when the primary beneficiaries are people who live outside of Salt Lake City,” LaMalfa said. “When it comes to trying to create a recreation bond to benefit Salt Lake City residents, those residents should be the only people we listen to.”

The City Council will decide by Aug. 18 whether to place the bond on the Nov. 3 ballot.

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7 Responses to Residents Prefer Parks and Trails Over Golf, SLC Study Says

  1. Malcolm Heaven says:

    Ron – for once I agree. If the Club can become independently viable then it may indeed be better for the ACHOA to pass on this issue. The thought of having multiple committees involved in running the course should the HOA take over is somewhat alarming – nothing would ever get done. I think that the work done by the HOA Board on this has been outstanding and extremely professional. Like some of the naysayers it is possible that I prefer to believe the those parts of the presentations that please me, and the naysayers believe their own preferences. I’m done on this topic now – what will be will be. One can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. (Unless one salts its oats!)


  2. Wayne Krachun says:

    People will believe what they want to believe. Accepting an alternative explanation threatens their little world. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson, ‘They can’t handle the truth.”


  3. Malcolm Heaven says:

    Totally irrelevant. The question posed was “What would you do with re-purposed Glendale Golf Course and Jordan River Par-3,” The answers hence pertain to post re-purposing of the courses. Bears no relationship to anything to do with ArrowCreek.


    • It is not “totally irrelevant” as Arrowcreek HOA committees have been looking at possible reuse of the ArrowCreek Golf course acreage in terms perhaps more familiar to you as “green” and “brown” – as mentioned many times before at HOA meetings – if you were around to attend them at 5:30 in the afternoon.



      • Malcolm Heaven says:

        I have attended many meetings, and read many reports. It is my understanding that the of all of the options presented by the Board only that of maintaining the property as a golf course makes economic sense. Or did I miss something? Obviously IF the golf course eventually was sold for “re-purposing” then the survey you presented would have some relevance. I certainly hope that does not happen as the expenses associated with the alternates don’t look very good to me. I am, of course, willing to be proven wrong, but given the inevitable impact on home values of going brown, for example, I hope not.


        • You missed something. OR you’ve just let the cat out of the bag for those of us not privy to the conversations and reports being shared among the elitists.

          Please prove your last statement with established and verifiable facts pertinent to the ArrowCreek situation. To date I haven’t seen any to support continuing that myth. Home values for the last ten years (if not more) are following economic trends not golf balls.


        • Ronald Duncan says:

          The first observation from your comments is that you haven’t kept up with the debate or reports produced by and for the ArrowCreek Community. For instance, you seem unaware of our governing documents, especially the Articles of Incorporation. Those articles prohibit the ACHOA from becoming a ‘For Profit’ corporation. Thus, operating a for profit golf course is prohibited. Another item that seems to have been over looked is the Demographic survey of ArrowCreek (posted both to this web site and the official ACHOA web site). That survey indicated that only 20%+ of the community relates to golf. It didn’t even make the top three activities that owners want.
          The last overlooked item appears to be the property value study of D’Andrea and Northgate. Analysis of Golf Course Closure Impacts on Home Sales Price Trends, commissioned by your neighbors but not coached by them, indicate that property values do not collapse when a golf course is abandoned.
          So, private enterprise is operating the golf course and that’s a good thing. The American system works and there is no need for the ACHOA to be involved in a ‘private venture.’ The ACHOA should move on and forget this chapter in our history.
          Ron Duncan


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