But that should be changing soon, now that the Utah Department of Transportation has the sprinklers operational. Trees that died over the winter will also be replaced.
UDOT spokesperson Vic Saunders said the agency has agreed to water the vegetation along the parkway trail for the remainder of the year, but the UDOT and cities abutting the parkway still must come to a consensus on responsibilities for ongoing maintenance.
“We’ll come to a resolution. We can’t stay in limbo,” said Woods Cross city manager Gary Uresk.
The problem of who is to maintain the road and trail is likely a case of miscommunication. UDOT has said that the cities —North Salt Lake, Wood Cross, West Bountiful, Centerville and Farmington — are responsible for maintaining the parkway.
But the cities disagree. After the roadway opened, “They (UDOT) dropped a bomb on us,” Uresk said.It was only after the road was opened that UDOT came to the cities and told them they were responsible for the maintenance.
“I don’t believe it was intentional. I think UDOT was more focused on getting it (the parkway) built and didn’t even think about the maintenance issues,” Uresk said. “They understand how we feel.”
City managers from the affected cities and UDOT personnel have been meeting to come to a consensus on how the parkway is to be maintained, and Uresk said they’re close. But even after an agreement is made, the proposal must go before each of the city councils for the final OK. One of the issues is that the sprinkling system crosses over both UDOT and land the cities are supposed to be responsible for.
Uresk said taking it to the councils may be difficult, because each city “feels different levels of angst” toward UDOT over the maintenance issue. Some say the cities must move forward, while others want to belabor the situation.
“The real issue is that there has been a significant amount of resources spent to put in the trees and trail system. Regardless of who pays to maintain it, I believe the residents want to make sure the improvements don’t deteriorate,” Uresk said, adding that at this point the cities are trying to get a feel for the level of service residents want to see. “The cities need to understand the public’s perception that they want it maintained, regardless of who is doing it,” Uresk said. He said he believes the cities will be seen in a negative light if they don’t step up and maintain the parkway.
Currently, each city is doing its own cleanup of litter, while UDOT is handling the watering.
Saunders said that less than 15 percent of the trees along the parkway died over the winter, many of those accidentally killed by a contractor hired to kill weeds along the route. Those will be replaced by the contractor, Saunders said, while other trees UDOT will replace.
He said he believes some Davis County residents may be disappointed by the parkway’s landscaping. “It’s got more of a wild look than I think many people expected. I think they may have expected more park-like conditions, than is down there. Our landscapers tried to preserve the parkway the way it looked before,” he said.