City officials had bold plans for the Dry Creek Reservoir project. The vision was that it would be a top-of-the-line regional recreation facility. Several roadblocks, however, have cropped up over the last few years. The reservoir vision was first presented in 2016, with construction starting in the spring of 2020. In July of 2022, the City Council halted funding ($4.5 million) for the project and allocated the funds to the now-under-construction Family Park.
Factors that have inhibited the reservoir’s progress include:
-Water acquisition and maintaining water levels
-Safety factors for accessing and entering the water
-The necessity of a retaining wall for the beach sand
-Emergency personnel access and related equipment
-Water loss and seepage
-Funding and overall city park priorities
Despite those challenges, many residents have expressed the desire to make progress in making Dry Creek Reservoir and its amenities a reality. On Tuesday, Assistant City Administrator Cameron Boyle gave the City Council an update on the reservoir and potential options for moving forward.
Option one would be the full build-out of the regional park with paved parking, restrooms, recreation rentals, food concessions, a beach, a fish station and a pier. The complete build-out plan has a price tag of $10.1 million. Still, this plan would also require the city to install a pressurized irrigation pipeline at the reservoir adding $10 million to the tally, bringing the total to $20.1 million.
The ongoing annual costs of that option would be 1,555 staffing hours ($38,875) and $60,700 in maintenance expenses.
Option two would be a recreational facility like Tibble Fork in American Fork Canyon. The build-out would include paved parking and only have a restroom and fish cleaning station. The park would also have a walking trail around the reservoir. Patrons would need to bring their own recreational equipment. The price tag for option two totals $2 million. Annual costs would be 818 staffing hours ($20,450) and $46,300 in maintenance. This option would only require a minimum of six feet of water with fishing offered or a four feet water level minimum without fish.
Option three would be an even more minimal approach, with makeshift parking and a trail. The cost is estimated at $300,000.
After Boyle’s presentation, Councilmembers’ opinions varied significantly in their desires from the bare minimum approach to the full build-out.
“Going with the bare minimum doesn’t preclude us from getting to full build-out in the future. I would be for the bare-bones options with so many [current] uncertainties,” said Councilman Paul Hancock.
“I’m not for the bare bones. We sold this to the public as a much nicer project, and we should deliver it,” said Councilwoman Katie Koivisto to counter Hancock.
“I would like to see the completed parks master plan and how this fits in before deciding,” added Councilwoman Paige Albrecht. The Lehi City Parks Department is in the process of developing an updated Parks Master Plan with the expected completion in October of this year.
Regarding ongoing funding, Mayor Mark Johnson concluded, “We should have paid parking. It shouldn’t all be on Lehi. Those who use it should help pay for it.”
The discussion was part of a work session meeting where no actions were taken. The Council and staff will continue deliberation on the future of the park. Funding sources and other park priorities like the Mellor Rhodes Sports Complex will be at the forefront of the conversation.