Jordan River Trail meets Millcreek as city secures funding for new trailheadMay 08, 2023 11:45AM ● By Sara Milano
Pictured is the Jordan River Trail. Extending the Jordan River Parkway Trail to the planned Millcreek City trailhead near the Meadowbrook Expressway on 4000 South will provide an access point to the community. (City of Taylorsville)
Millcreek residents and visitors will soon have expanded access to the Jordan River, thanks to a new funding agreement between the city and Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) to create a trailhead and expand the trail into the city. The project aims to enhance recreational opportunities and promote environmental preservation along the river’s 51-mile stretch, providing a much-needed respite in a rapidly growing urban area.
According to Utah’s Water Restoration Initiative, about half of the state’s population lives within 15 minutes of the Jordan River. However, “a long history of abuse and urban encroachment has left habitat fragmented and the river in an impaired state,” according to the Initiative.
For 100 years, untreated sewage and waste was dumped into the river and mining operations contaminated it with heavy metals. River cleanup efforts began in the 1970s, and government priorities for the 40-mile park and trail system that runs along it have shifted to environmental conservation and access to recreation. Included in these efforts are plans to expand the Jordan River Parkway Trail into Millcreek.
Millcreek is the largest city along the Jordan River without an extension of the Parkway. Extending the Parkway to the planned Millcreek City Trailhead near the Meadowbrook Expressway on 4000 South will provide a crucial access point to an underserved section of the community.
City Manager Mike Winder explained that the city council’s agreement essentially involves accepting a legislative allocation of $1.5 million to aid in completing the Jordan River Trail. Silvia Catten, a councilmember of Millcreek District 1, is also the chair of the Jordan River Commission, which oversees the implementation of strategic initiatives to improve the river and parkway. Catten considers her appointment as chair “serendipitous” and attributes her involvement to her district’s proximity to the river. Nonetheless, her position as a councilmember and appointment to the Commission creates an opportunity for Millcreek to remain engaged in the development of the Jordan River Parkway.
The funding agreement between Millcreek and UDOT to expand the Jordan River Trail in the city will provide expanded access to a much-needed recreational and environmental resource for Millcreek residents. As efforts to improve the health and accessibility of the river continue, Millcreek’s involvement in the development of the Jordan River Parkway and Catten’s position on the Jordan River Commission will help ensure the city remains a committed partner in promoting conservation and recreation at the Jordan River. λ