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Canal Trail funding approved by Murray City Council

Nov 01, 2017 09:28AM ● Published by Shaun Delliskave

Funding for improvements to Jordan and Salt Lake County Canal Trail was approved Murray City Council. (Photo/James Delliskave)

Gallery: Canal Trail [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

Murray City Council amended the City’s 2017-2018 fiscal year budget to appropriate $600,000 from the City’s Capital Project Fund toward development and creation of the Jordan and Salt Lake Canal Trail Project. Brett Hales was the only councilman who voted against the ordinance, siding with some residents who live near and are opposed to the future parkway.

The ordinance, approved on September 6, allocates $100,000 received from the Salt Lake County Transportation Alternative Program Grant that needed to be spent by the end of September according to grant guidelines. The ordinance also approved receiving an additional $100,000 from the same grant for the current fiscal year. The council also authorized $500,000 from Murray’s own Capital Improvement Program towards the design and construction of the trail.

In the public hearing, a petition with 22 signatures was presented to the council in opposition to the project from a group of residents living near the future trail, citing concerns about privacy, vandalism and access. Previously, a May 8 city council meeting passed a resolution to move forward with an interlocal agreement between the city and Salt Lake County to further develop the Canal Trail. A contingent of residents opposed to the trail spoke out against it then, too.

The interlocal agreement means that Murray City will be primarily in charge of maintenance and development of the trail, instead of Salt Lake County, and Murray will have three years to begin improvements since it passed.

The trail will follow the historic Jordan and Salt Lake Canal. The canal, first proposed in 1849, was completed in 1855, and was initially considered as a way to ferry granite blocks hauled out of the Little Cottonwood Canyon quarry to the Salt Lake LDS Temple site. A rail line rendered that purpose unnecessary, and the canal ended up being used for irrigation.

The southern trailhead will start at Wheeler Historic Farm and run east until it reaches 1300 East by Matthew Avenue. From that point, the trail turns northeast to Vine Street, behind the Cottonwood Presbyterian Church. It will then proceed north along the Village III condominium complex before making a sharp curve to the east and ending at Fontaine Bleu Drive.

An open house about the trail was held in March at Cottonwood High School. In summary, the “Murray Canal Trail Open House Report” stated that 104 respondents said they would use the trail if constructed—28 said they would not. 

According to the report, those in favor of the trail “were excited to have safe access to Wheeler Farm from the trail instead of using busy roads with no sidewalks. They see the trail as an asset to the community which will help increase friendliness of neighbors. They love the serenity of the path currently and see this as a way to make it better. However, keeping the trail as natural as possible while making improvements was stressed by several residents.”

The report also recorded, “The strongest concern of those who oppose the trail is privacy for those living along the trail. A tall fence would need to be added which still would not ease all of their worries. Concerns about an increase in crime, specifically theft and vandalism, were also mentioned. They already see people misuse the trail and felt that with improvements to the trail, it will only get worse.”

The trail is expected to be, on average, 10 feet wide and paved with compacted aggregate surface rather than asphalt or woodchips. The trail would also include two pedestrian crosswalk lights for the crossings on 1300 East and Vine Street. Murray has submitted a request for bids on the project.

City public documents can be found online at: http://www.murray.utah.gov/DocumentCenter/View/7430

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