Sugar house Park above 13th East and Hidden Hollow Park are now officially connected by Parley’s Trail. A couple hundred people including residents and government officials gathered this morning Friday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of The Draw at Sugar House. Utah Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson recalled just starting out in Washington when a coalition people from the Salt Lake Valley first met with him with this huge urban trails project.
“I hadn’t been in office that long, but what impressed me was the range of community support and all of the stakeholders getting together saying ‘This is what we want to do. It’s a big undertaking but we’re committed to doing it, and we want your help,’” says Matheson.
Annalisa Holcombe is the President of the Sugar House Chamber of Commerce and also works for Westminster College, which has student housing at The Draw. She says the walkway under 13th East connects so many different elements in the area.
“It’s certainly good for all of our small, local businesses because it gives an opportunity for people to enjoy all of the amazing green space, and then travel back and forth to our businesses easily in order to get some food to do some shopping etc., it just opens everything up,” Holcombe says.
Juan Arce-Larreta is the Chair of the Parley’s Rails Trails and Tunnels Coalition, or PRATT. He was one the original residents to spur interest in the project 20 years ago. He says even in the short time The Draw has been unofficially open, hundreds of people are using it daily.
“This is quiet, it’s below grade, it’s very inviting, the tunnel’s wide open, it looks safe; people are going to want to walk through here,” says Arce-Larreta.
He says PRATT and others are hoping now that private supporters will step in with funding to complete all of the artwork in the final phase of the massive project.