West Point nature park to be bulldozed; parking lot to replace part of land

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WEST POINT, Utah -- Residents of West Point are upset with the city for planning to bulldoze over a popular nature park and replace it with a parking lot.

The residents say the park isn't only beautiful but educational and it will be missed. However, the city says the park has become a hazard and it needs to go.

The park consists of about five acres of land directly behind West Point Elementary School. In 1996 the city and the Davis School District came to an agreement. The city lets the school use the park as long as they maintain it.

Almost 20 years later, the school admits they've been unable to properly care for it, which has primarily been the responsibility of the teachers and students.

Starting next week it's scheduled to be demolished.

"We're really upset about it, to lose it, and I know that the elementary school they bring their kids down here and they do these walk-throughs that are really educational," said resident Joelle Caruso.

The park is only open to students of West Point Elementary. As part of their curriculum
they get to go outside and learn about the vegetation and wildlife that make up this outdoor classroom.

"Everyone will miss it because it's like part of our school and our neighborhood," said second-grader Ryan Maxfield.

For Ryan, her favorite part about the nature park are the geese, but most likely she's feed them for the last time.

"The city doesn't have the budget to maintain that big of an area to bring it back up to good up keeping," said City Manager Kyle Laws.

Over the years the park has become over grown with vegetation, while important infrastructure, like the pond drainage system, has broken down.

"We as a school district said we really love it but we can't take care of it," said Chris Williams, of the David School District. "It needs some attention and our kids they don't have the where with all, they aren't landscapers, they can't do this."

On March 17 the city, with the support of the school district, voted to demolish the park.

"I'm disappointed I wish we would have had more time to discuss it in depth," said resident Mike Liegert.

Liegert, like residents throughout the area, received a flyer on their door, from the city, stating that the park will be torn down. He wishes there was also a flyer sent out before the city made their decision.

For many residents, Liegert said, it came as a complete surprise.

"If money was an issue to keep up the nature center then I think our community would of stepped up and got involved to offer to help keep it up," Laws said.

Laws told FOX 13 that city council was not trying to sneak anything by the public. He said it just so happened the construction company was ready to go to work around the same time the council voted.

The final plans of what will replace the nature park have yet to be determined. The city says whatever it is they want it to be beneficial to the majority of the residents. They did say at least some of it will be parking, but certainly not all of it.

According to the city, there will be an upcoming community meeting where the residents will have a chance to give their opinion on what should be developed.

20 comments

  • Cindy Heibel

    This is VERY sad. A parking lot for what? What will happen to the wildlife that lives in this nature park? Why not give the residents a chance to maintain the park? You can give elementary students a chance but not adults? I would like to know if this city planner who made this decision was born and raised in West Point or a transplant. It seems obvious that the families that have lived there for generations ought to have a say in what happens in their city. Very poor decision making I tell Ya.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      The story says “the park is only open to students of West Point Elementary”. Why has the park become a hazard?

    • BEAU STANDER

      Betsy Thurgood had a Dream in 1996 and made a 5 acre Nature Park and the daughter of Ed Kenley- Anya L. Kenley’s life is commemorated with a butterfly garden inside the Nature Center. She died at the age of 16 after a long, arduous, and brave battle with cancer. These families are West Point. This is West Point’s History. This is the West Point I know and Love. We don’t need more parking. Save the Nature Park and Butterfly Garden!

      PARKING AT THE SCHOOL ISN’T A PROBLEM. I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND A SPOT OVER THE 10 YEARS I HAVE LIVED HERE. THE ONLY SCENARIO WHERE PARKING IS AN ISSUE ARE ON MAJOR EVENTS AND PARENT TEACHERS CONFERENCE. SORRY MAYOR IF YOU HAVE TO PARK AT THE END OF THE STREET AND WALK TO THE SCHOOL. YOU DESIGN THE PARKING LOTS FOR NORMAL OPERATION AND DAY TO DAY ACTIVITIES. YOU NEVER OVER DESIGN. MAYOR CRAYTHORNE TOLD ME HIMSELF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT DOESN’T THINK THERE IS A PARKING PROBLEM AND I AGREE. MAKE PEOPLE PARK ON THE CURB AND WALK A FEW TIMES A YEAR. KEEP THE SPACE GREEN!

  • Gordon Smith

    I’m happy they are turning this unused, un-maintained property into something else. The residents who are mad are most likely those who use the ‘park’ as a private buffer between their house and Loy Blake Park. They’ve gone lengths to put up jersey barriers and railroad ties to block the flow of traffic from the school to other residential roads — making their own little private plot at public expense.

    • Lori

      That’s one access side which I have yet to understand why it’s accepted for that street and not the street I live on as they both provide equal access to the “so called” parking lot… which in my opinion is a hazard in itself…more like a free for all! No lines or markers makes it hard to even see when pulling in or backing out! I won’t even go into the speeding that takes place during recreation season as I get that this is something most neighborhoods with through access deal with. ..I would just remind people that little kids live on this street and when cars park in the street it causes horrible blindspots… but back to the issue of why this should be reconsidered… it could be a great place the entire community could enjoy if properly maintained… sad for the wildlife that lived there and sad for a community loosing a nature center…sad the most notice we received on the matter was a note to watch for mice that could be disturbed during demolition… really!

  • Bobfurapples

    Well, since bwe can’t maintain it…. Let’s just bulldoze it and put in a parking lot.
    Are you freakin’ kidding me?
    How sad.
    How about giving it back to the community and putting in a garden?
    I GUARANTEE there are people who would help maintain a community garden.
    Shame on you, West Point!

  • Brogan L. Fullmer

    I am deeply saddened and terribly disappointed in West Point’s leaders for their actions. It appears the city is destroying an existing site without any clear plan on its replacement. From another perspective, good contractors and good leaders require weeks of planning before executing any job. Either the city council is plowing ahead without a plan, or has been planning all along without ever notifying or speaking with their citizens. A sad day for the people of West Point.

  • JP

    The way it is looking to me is that someone on the counsel has a construction company that needs some work and the park is that. Fishy if you ask me. This as Doug Wright says does not pass the sniff test. Why not offer the community the opportunity to care for something that once it gone will never be able to be replaced? From the outside looking in someone needs to find out who voted for it and what construction company is doing the work and how many bids where offered for the work?

    • Jim Glass

      JP-your a closed minded, knee jerk reaction robot. You and most of the people on this comment board are grinding your axes and don’t even know what tree your swinging towards. Jealousy over the our good mayor will do you know good. His family’s company has nothing to do with the reconstruction. Get your facts straight before you hit send. West Point it Great!

  • Lori

    I would just like to add to my previous comment…I never realized what the Nature Center was about until the thoughts of it being gone became real and what is going to be lost…when our neighborhood received the yellow flyer on our doors warning us to watch for mice due to the demolition to the Nature Center I was bugged thinking I was going to have to deal with an infestation of mice needing a new home…a few nights later I came home to a turtle in a plastic tub on my kitchen counter and asked my daughter where it came from…she said a few kids from the neighborhood were rescuing the animals in the Nature Center before they tore it down…that’s when I realized that there was really life inside that place…cause to be honest the drive by the last few years has made me question what has happened to it the last few years…my father in law used to feed the ducks there daily and since his passing there have been less and less ducks…no sign of life or anyone caring about it…sadly somewhere the responsibility to this place has been dropped or lost…maybe it is to big of a project for the school to handle…whatever the reason I think it is horrible the way it has been handled…did the citizens have an opportunity to voice their thoughts or concerns? We were certainly warned of the demolition… either way is our community missing out on an opportunity to teach kids to give back to your community and contribute to society? Or is it easier to bulldoze the problem…? Also what were the city’s plans for the animals that could not run like the mice to escape!? Luckily we have a few kids who showed some compassion and relocated the turtles…good luck to the rest of the wildlife…I’ll admit the area could be used for parking for the park nearby…but couldn’t there be BOTH…tear down the fence around it and let the city enjoy it…

     

    • Cindy Heibel

      Bob. Why do I get the feeling your life is sad and pathetic? Have you nothing else to do? Call your mom and be a good boy. Clean your own yard. Get a hobby!

  • Staci_WPE parent

    I am a resident of West Point city and my children attend WPE. I have worked closely with the school regarding this issue. What has not been publicized in this news article is that our students of WPE are currently in danger because of the lack of parking in the school itself. It is my understanding that the parking lot that has been proposed will be used as extra parking for visitors of WPE and it will also allow connect the roads behind the school and allow parents to enter through one side of 300 N. and exit on the other side safely, as well as children who are currently being forced to walk out onto the busy road of 300 N. when parents come to pick up their children. This is a good alternative for the school, the children, and the community. When the school was enlarged several years ago, they did not extend the parking areas to accommodate the expansion. I became involved in the process of expanding the parking lot for the school after I was ticketed for parking on the road of 300 N. after attending a school PTA function. This proposal and the discussions about the dangers of the nature center because of the lack of care that is being provided currently and has become a hazard, is a valid concern. It is still yet to be determined how much of the nature center will be preserved, and I encourage every resident who would like to voice their opinion to attend the future town meetings regarding how much of this land can be maintained by the community and residents of West Point. The city itself may not have funds to care for the whole 6 acres, but there is still time to reach out as a community and say we would like a portion of this to be preserved. There is just no way that the school district and the elementary school can maintain all 6 acres that it currently owns. We need this extra parking area, and I’m glad to see that this project is moving forward. Kyle Laws, the city manager, is more than willing to help our city of West Point and he is looking out for our city and its citizens. We, as a community, must take the steps necessary to become involved and not just place blame without knowing all of the facts.

    • Denece Perkins

      Thank you for a informed, common sense reply.The school really needs more parking. I am so glad for this information. Too bad the news story didn’t get the full story.

    • Ropeadope

      I’m not sure i understand how the lack of planed parking on the school districts part has resulted in an emergency for West Point City. Neglect the nature park under your care to the point that the city takes it back and be rewarded with brand new parking lot that you should have installed yourself. Well done Davis School District! you saw the suckers of West point coming a mile away. The lines seem to be getting blurred here. Davis school district needs to be held accountable to return the property in reasonable condition or face litigation for the cost to recover the area. If they NEED? more parking they should use their own resources and land to fix THEIR parking problem.
      I agree with one of the above posters, When things don’t make sense, are done quietly, and quickly by your elected officials its because something is being done that they do not want you to see. There is obviously more to this story than we know.

  • BEAU STANDER

    Betsy Thurgood had a Dream in 1996 and made a 5 acre Nature Park and the daughter of Ed Kenley- Anya L. Kenley’s life is commemorated with a butterfly garden inside the Nature Center. She died at the age of 16 after a long, arduous, and brave battle with cancer. These families are West Point. This is West Point’s History. This is the West Point I know and Love. We don’t need more parking. Save the Nature Park and Butterfly Garden!

    PARKING AT THE SCHOOL ISN’T A PROBLEM. I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND A SPOT OVER THE 10 YEARS I HAVE LIVED HERE. THE ONLY SCENARIO WHERE PARKING IS AN ISSUE ARE ON MAJOR EVENTS AND PARENT TEACHERS CONFERENCE. SORRY MAYOR IF YOU HAVE TO PARK AT THE END OF THE STREET AND WALK TO THE SCHOOL. YOU DESIGN THE PARKING LOTS FOR NORMAL OPERATION AND DAY TO DAY ACTIVITIES. YOU NEVER OVER DESIGN. MAYOR CRAYTHORNE TOLD ME HIMSELF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT DOESN’T THINK THERE IS A PARKING PROBLEM AND I AGREE. MAKE PEOPLE PARK ON THE CURB AND WALK A FEW TIMES A YEAR. KEEP THE SPACE GREEN AND KEEP WEST POINTS DREAMS & HISTORY IN PLACE. THE DAVIS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT COULDN’T MAINTAIN IT WHY CAN’T THE WEST POINT CITY RESIDENTS HAVE A TRY?

  • Harley Alderson

    fight it, protest it get the land opened up to the community so you can all share responsibility in keeping it up. if i were living in utah id join you guys in that protest.

Comments are closed.