EPHRAIM—The city of Ephraim will get a new park this summer. The park, which is specifically designed to accommodate individuals of all physical abilities, will be located where Heritage Park currently is at 15 S. Main Street in Ephraim, behind the library.
Accessibility has become an important topic in the parks and recreation world. This will be the first all-abilities park in Sanpete County.
“As much as we love youth sports, we understand that recreation is not just that,” Michael Patton, Ephraim City Director of Recreation, said.
“People recreate in different ways; it’s not just youth, it’s adults and seniors too, so our goal was to figure out how to make recreation fit for all residents of Ephraim.”
The all-abilities park project consists of an ADA accessible bathroom, a walking path around the park and an all-abilities playground. The playground will feature equipment that is ADA accessible and encourages interactive play between everyone.
The recreation department values residents’ opinions, which is why they continuously send out surveys to hear what the
people of Ephraim would like to see in the community. The surveys are sent out via their Facebook page.
One suggestion that they received was for an all-abilities park with ADA accessible equipment. The community also had the chance to vote on the color scheme of the park via the surveys. The winners were orange and blue with hints of gray.
The park itself cost around $250,000. The department received $150,000 in grants, and the rest of the money came from donations, fundraising and very little tax money.
Ephraim City approved a Recreation Arts and Park tax last year, which was a sales tax added to retail purchases. With every $10 that is spent at a retail business in Ephraim, one cent goes to the Recreation Arts and Park fund. The money is used for projects like the new park and other projects to improve the community.
Along with the tax fund, the city was able to use impact fees to pay for the new park. Impact fees are a special tax put on new construction in the city to help built infrastructure in the area. If a company, business or person decides to construct a building (house, apartment complex, business, etc.) in the area, the tax is added to the construction fees by the city in order to bring in money to accommodate the new residents through building infrastructure.
The money from the impact fees went towards the construction of the ADA accessible bathroom, making it available to anyone in the area.
“Another goal with our recreation department is [that] for all our projects, we try to use as little to no tax dollars as possible,” Patton said. “We try and find different ways to fund projects.”
The manufacturer, Big T Recreation, specializes in building commercial recreation equipment for families and children all across Utah, Idaho and Nevada.
The Youth City Council of Ephraim is helping with the Installation, along with the manufacturer and city workers. The restroom will be installed by the end of June, with the park estimated for completion by the end of July.