Orem City Council reviews plans for Hillcrest Park, construction begins | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy Orem city

Rendering of the gym and kitchen from the old Hillcrest Elementary School.

With a few tweaks to its design, the Orem City Council was able to get a final look at architect’s renderings for the new 9-acre Hillcrest Park during Tuesday’s meeting.

Work has already begun on the new facility, but with these small changes the construction and demolition can begin in earnest next month.

It has been several years since Orem started considering what to do with the property that was once Hillcrest Elementary School.

With federal funding available after having been designated for public uses, Orem has begun a journey to build one of the most upscale city parks in the county with a host of amenities.

Orem is using some of the $16 million it is receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act, given to municipalities and other organizations to improve and help areas that may have been affected by COVID-19.

Investments in parks, public plazas and other public outdoor recreation spaces may be responsive to the needs of disproportionately impacted communities by promoting healthier living environments and outdoor recreation and socialization to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“Many governments saw significantly increased use of parks during the pandemic that resulted in damage or increased maintenance needs,” said Steven Downs, deputy city manager, when the funding was announced.

Hillcrest Park will be the latest addition to a city with 23 parks already. It will also be a boon to a neighborhood that is mostly rental housing with tenants of diverse cultural backgrounds.

The park will have enough space to host an indoor competition or celebration, an outdoor luau, a soccer game and pickleball tournament all at once. Also included in the plans is a much-desired splash pad.

The splash pad will have in-ground nozzles, so that the space can be used for other activities beyond the 90 days of summer. It is anticipated the splash pad area will cost about $600,000 or more, but is within the allotted budget.

The newest portion of Hillcrest Elementary School has been saved and is already in use for indoor sports and activities. In addition to a gym inside, there is also a professional kitchen.

According to Blu Line Designs of Sandy, there will be 12 pickleball courts and a large open field for soccer, baseball, lacrosse or just to play on, plus two playgrounds — one for young children and one for older elementary school children. There will be ping pong tables, shaded resting and meditating spots, and pavilions for parties and social gatherings. Indoor access to large bathrooms will also be a part of the project including two “family” bathrooms.

If all goes well, the city is hoping the park will be completed by fall 2023.


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