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Access And Sustainability: Two Words Centered Around The Jordan River Parkway Competition

Jordan River Commission

The access and sustainability of the Jordan River Parkway are threatened by a large set of issues affecting the state as a whole.  Salt Lake County and the Jordan River Foundation invited design teams to submit their ideas for a segment of the parkway to attract creative solutions to conserve and promote river and spark public conversation.  Organizers are now inviting the public to share their voice on these ideas.

Since the competition began on March 13, 16 US teams submitted their proposals for the 3 1/2 mile stretch of river, and a jury of public leaders and experts will now judge the entries on their employment of activation, connectivity, recreation, conservation and economic prosperity.

The project encourages dialogue between policymakers and the public on the complex challenges affecting the river.  

“The more we talk about the relatedness of these things, the better off we will be in the long run, because when we talk about them in isolation, we lose how interdependent they are on each other for our quality of life,” said Dina Blaes,  an associate deputy mayor for Salt Lake County.

These problems - including water quality, habitat degradation and urbanization - are being addressed all throughout the state, including algal bloom prevention and plastic bag bans.  Blaes believes whenever direct actions such as these are taken, they bring about positive public engagement.  She wants all Utahns to understand that these are statewide challenges, not just in Salt Lake, and we should remember what we value in our quality of life moving forward.

“With the growth, we can expect, we know more people are looking at Utah as a wonderful place to live and work and play," Blaes said. "But what are we doing with the resources that are drawing those people to us?  Are we good stewards?  I think these are discussions and concepts that are transferable to just about any community in Utah.”

The county will finalize and secure funds for the project over time, with more public outreach efforts during the process.  All Utahns are invited to vote for the People's Choice Award by June 25, at 10:00 PM.  Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson will announce all prize winners on June 27 at 10:00 AM.  Visit for more information and to vote for People's Choice.