Four day event to focus on improvements to Pioneer Park

Pioneer Park as seen from 300 South.  Photo by Isaac Riddle.
Pioneer Park as seen from 300 South. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

Central Park, Bryant Park, Rittenhouse Square, urban parks can often be as iconic as the cities they reside in.  Pioneer Park, Salt Lake’s downtown park has long struggled to find its place and identity in an area of the city where tensions from poverty, crime conflict with residents and developers eager to build in an area with convenient transit access, proximity to the city’s core and a desirable amenity like a large park.  Pioneer Park’s reputation as unsafe discourages active use by residents outside of popular weekly summer events, the Twilight Concerts and the Farmer’s Market.

The Pioneer Park Urban Design Assistance Team, in collaboration with the Pioneer Park Coalition and the City’s Parks and Public Land Program, is holding a four-day charrette (an intensive design or planning workshop) to use design and planning in an effort to help the park become not only safer but more desirable and better utilized.   Proposed improvements will work under the guidelines established in the 2006 Pioneer Park Master Plan.

The design team includes: designers, architects, landscape architects, planners and other technical specialists.  Team members will be working pro-bono providing urban design, planning services, research and technical assistance.  The 15 core team members will each work about 20 hours over the four-day period from the offices of NWL Architects at 336 South 400 West.

The public is invited to observe the planning and design workshop.  There will be two opportunities for the public to provide input during four-day charrette.

The first is a Public Open House on Thursday February 5 at 4:00 pm, at the offices of Big-D Construction at 404 West and 400 South.   An informal progress session is scheduled at 4:00 pm on Saturday, February 7, to allow an opportunity for questions and answers with the public and other stakeholders at the NWL Architects.

The Urban Design Assistance Team is an initiative of the Pioneer Park Coalition, a non-profit organized one year ago that includes over 250 stakeholder, and is sponsored by the Utah Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).  According to the Coalition,  “The fundamental goal is to make Pioneer Park and the surrounding neighborhood family-friendly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

These issues affecting the neighborhood surrounding Pioneer Park range from homelessness, social services, drug-related crime, prostitution, to housing and neighborhood development, mobility and economic development.  Talk of relocating or completely redesigning the Road Home homeless shelter has angered many of the homeless services organizations in the neighborhood.

The diverse stakeholders in the vicinity surrounding Pioneer Park will see a lot of growth over the next few years as the neighborhood continues to develop.  The challenge will be to incorporate design and planning initiatives that satisfy the diverse interests of everyone involved.



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Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at