Sugar House Park is open to cars again

The park’s road has been closed to vehicles for more than a month for flood protection.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sugar House Park has been closed to vehicles since at least April 22, 2023 due to rising water from Parleys Creek. The park reopened its streets on Friday, May 26, 2023.

More than a month after Sugar House Park was first closed to vehicles due to Parleys Creek flooding, the park’s roads have reopened.

There is still a possibility that the park, designed as a catchment area, could once again be closed to cars. “But we’ve been told that it’s very likely that it’s over now,” said Callista Pearson, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Department.

In the meantime, flood control officials will continue to monitor the park, which is serving as a temporary stopping point for Parleys Creek flood control.

It was closed to cars for the first time on April 15 when water from spring drains and upstream reservoirs spilled over the park’s main street. It was closed to vehicles again on April 22 because the park’s pond overflowed its banks.

“It worked exactly as it should, and now it’s open in time for Memorial Day weekend,” Pearson said. “And I mean the ducks obviously loved it.”

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mallard ducks gained a larger expanse of water when flood waters blew the pond at Sugar House Park over its banks.

Not only the ducks, but also many people were happy about the road closure. As it turns out, the park’s pedestrian restriction didn’t mean it was empty.

“It was busy despite the gates being closed,” Pearson said. “It was very interesting. There were many mixed reactions. People really enjoyed that the park was closed to vehicles.”

Answers to a Tweet from the Parks and Recreation Department on Friday, announcing that the park had reopened to vehicles, included comments like, “Can we keep it closed?!” Parks are best for people, not cars”; “NOOOOOOOOOO”; and “Well, it was fun while it lasted…”

Over the past week, responders have been clearing debris left by the flooding in preparation for the road’s reopening. Areas where the pavement was flooded were inspected to ensure there was no damage.

“They made sure the road is safe,” Pearson said, adding that she was “roadworthy now.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) High water levels at Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 26, 2023.

Justin Scaccy

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