Kaysville is known for its beautiful open spaceNov 04, 2022 09:59AM ● By Cindi Mansell
Recently, Parks & Recreation Director Cole Stephens provided the City Council with an annual update. Stephens explained his department has responsibility over parks and trails, recreation, the City Cemetery, City Facilities, community events, and other public properties (rights-of-way). He said they also work with citizen boards such as the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the recently created Recreation, Arts, Museums and Parks Advisory Board (RAMP).
Stephens said the cemetery dates to 1865 and is the oldest public property being maintained. He discussed annual history on interments (tracked back to 1983) and said there were 191 interments in 2021 and 131 2022 YTD as of Sept. 1, 2022 (should surpass 2021). He said they also track residents versus non-residents and prior to 2016 there were more non-residents than residents. He said there were some fee and sales changes made and now residents have first right to spaces; in 2022 there were 115 resident and 85 non-residents buried in the cemetery.
Stephens discussed future plans/expansion/additions for the cemetery and said, “if they keep up with current pace they will be out of space within 10-12 years.” He said when thinking about expansion, the city currently owns a 10-acre parcel farther up Crestwood & Highway 89 that could be developed without land acquisition costs. He said this is a service that the city has provided since 1865 so it may be difficult to “just be done.” He said if cremations increase, that may expand the life of the cemetery.
Stephens said Kaysville has 158.29 acres developed parks and maintained public properties and 214.53 undeveloped. He said the Trappers Field Park site began development of the south side in 2021 and the north side is currently out for RFP for engineering and design services. He said the seasonal employees are tracked on the total number of hours worked and there has been a significant drop in this type of employee. This is also the first year they have not been able to hire enough employees for scorekeeping; now umpires are keeping score on the fields. Stephens said they are open to innovative solutions but doesn’t see that problem solving itself anytime soon. He said for example, the city purchased a robot line painter than runs on GPS to reduce a three-man crew to one person.
Stephens said water conservation measures were implemented and water use reduced for the 2022 irrigation season; they are in the process of identifying areas of turf grass that can be eliminated and re-landscaped with more drought tolerant landscaping.
Stephens discussed parks and recreation reservations and programming and said all pavilions, courts, and campsites now have a QR code sign at the location which contains the name of those reserving the space. This has eliminated the need for paper signs to be delivered to each site each day. He discussed recreation programs and said the goal continues to be to capture all ages and interests. Programs added in 2022 include: UOVA outdoor volleyball tournament, Kaysville Quest Scavenger Hunt, and Family Super Sport which teaches families to play together on the field and court.
Stephens said the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board conducts monthly meetings and park visits as well as involvement and assistance in all community events. He said the RAMP Advisory Board’s first year has been successful and their grant application recommendations will be coming forward to the City Council. He talked about community events held and facilities maintained, along with proposed improvements.
Stephens closed with a quote from John Muir, “everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” He highlighted seasonal operator Bryce Chapell who just celebrated his 90th birthday and has been mowing the cemetery for 30 years. He thanked his impressive staff and said, “the department mission, tasks, and accomplishments could not be achieved without them.” λ