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SCT to study 1,000 foot daylighting

The Seven Canyons Trust seeks to daylight an underground Emigration Creek at Herman Franks Park.

The Seven Canyons Trust, with support from Bockholt Landscape Architecture and the Franks Family Foundation, is crafting a community-based design vision to uncover Emigration Creek at Herman Franks Park, a small neighborhood park in the East Liberty neighborhood of Salt Lake City. Named after the baseball legend and native-Utahn, Herman Franks, its main attractor includes three baseball diamonds and a dog park, affixed between the fields.

As Emigration Creek runs west through the valley, its waters slip underground outside of Westminster College’s campus, until spilling into the Liberty Park pond. There is opportunity to daylight over 1,000 feet of Emigration Creek at the perimeter of Herman Franks Park to activate the space between the baseball diamonds and the surrounding roads. The restored creek channel will create a beautiful backdrop for the current uses at the park, without disrupting them in any way.

Daylighting Emigration Creek will create a nexus for water quality impairments to be retain and cleaned, improving water quality for downstream users and underserved communities on the west-side. New riparian vegetation will create vital habitat for migratory birds coming to the valley from South America or Canada, and the 80 percent of Utah’s species that rely on riparian areas for a portion of their lifecycle. The channel will be able to naturally fluctuate with high flows, mitigating flooding potential in the area and removing choke points in the stormwater system that can cause disastrous clogging. This project will become an opportunity for children to access natural play areas, benefitting their physical and mental well-being as detailed in Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. A gathering space will be created for the families to picnic and relax near water. Surrounding property values of the area will likely increase with the implementation of the project. A study, done by the University of North Carolina, found that property values adjacent to restoration sites, increased by an average of $3,100. An aesthetically-pleasing creek can facilitate surrounding private development, as people are drawn towards the area and the pedestrian environment is improved. This creek will become the start to a regional east-west trail along Emigration Creek, detailing the original route pioneers may have traveled as they entered the valley. The creek will provide a living laboratory for nearby Westminster College, and Hawthorne and Emerson Elementary Schools. Students can research STEM-based topics, including water quality testing, biological surveys, and much more.