Two highly anticipated recreation projects in Orem are on track to be completed and open for use in spring 2016. A dog park — the first of its kind in the city — and an all-abilities playground — a first for Utah County — are being funded by Orem’s CARE tax.
When the city council approved $75,000 for a dog park, officials had hoped construction would begin by early fall. The city had planned that it be built at an existing park or on other city property, but that’s where it ran into problems.
Most of the parks in Orem have been built adjacent to schools for cost savings, and plans to put a dog park at one of those properties have been met with “significant resistance,” said city spokesman Steven Downs. Larger regional parks in Orem already are heavily programmed with sporting events, so those are out.
There are a couple of parks that aren’t next to schools or heavily used for sporting events, so the city is looking at those now, he said. Once a location is decided on, the city will work with neighbors to mitigate concerns.
“We want to have it open next spring,” Downs said. “We want to identify a location soon and get all the design ready through the winter months. We want to make sure when we do it we do it in the right place.”
Plans for an all-abilities playground, dubbed the “all-together playground, where everybody plays,” are on track. The city has partnered with United Way and Kids on the Move and is putting together a request for proposals for a playground designer, Downs said, and hopes to have a designer selected in the next few weeks.
In late fall or early winter, the city will give children the opportunity to design their dream playground, and the designer will incorporate some of those ideas into the plan, he said.
The city approved $150,000 to build the playground at the City Center Park, near the Orem Library. It will replace the current playground with the all-abilities equipment and upgrade the restrooms.
Orem likely will do a community build on the project because it’s had so much volunteer interest, Downs said. That means the city will contract with a company experienced with community builds to oversee the volunteer effort and ensure building codes and safety requirements are met. And it means the city can put more money into equipment instead of construction.
Downs said the city has had interest from companies interested in donating to the project, but none of that is finalized yet. It hopes to have the playground built in April or May 2016.
“This will just be a gem in the community that will last years,” he said. … “It’s a facility needed in our community for a long time. It will unite us as a community and really teach all of us lessons about unity and oneness.”