Park patrons, City of Logan at odds over nature park’s future

May 10, 2018, 9:42 PM

LOGAN, Utah – For the past several years, Hilary Shughart has enjoyed peaceful walks through the Denzil Stewart Nature Park. She says a major change took her by surprise one morning in February – a large drainage ditch, right in the middle of the park.

Hilary Shughart

“It’s over half an acre,” Shughart said. “There used to be large shrubs. There was a whole butterfly garden in here.”

Since then, Shughart and several citizens have petitioned city leaders to repair the damage, some suggesting that workers should simply fill it with dirt and re-plant vegetation.

Russ Akina

As Logan’s Parks and Recreation Director, Russ Akina explained, the drainage ditch was put there to handle runoff for a new development up above. The developer initially planned to send water flow into a piece of land adjacent to the park, but with the park down below, Akina says there was concern that overflow would end up in the nature park.

View of Denzil Stewart Nature Park from the east side, showing a recently dug drainage ditch in the background.

After a meeting with residents last Friday, Akina says the city has agreed to plant vegetation and seed around the drainage ditch, and add a filtration device that will remove contaminants before water flows into the park.

“We know we’ve got a responsibility to beautify that basin,” Akina said. “There’s a planting plan that’s been given to us that we’ll be incorporating.”

Shugart added that when land for the nature park was donated to the city back in 1975, it was to be kept as a preserve, according to the deed. She says the drainage ditch is a violation of that agreement. While she says the improvements that have been promised are better, the situation is still not ideal.

“We won maybe a couple of battles, possibly, but we’re still losing the war,” Shugart said.

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Park patrons, City of Logan at odds over nature park’s future