President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated two new parks in downtown Salt Lake City Oct. 2 in a joint ceremony under the auspices of the city and the Church.
Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini conducted the brief ceremony, which was held on Second Avenue, just east of State and North Temple streets and northeast of the Church Office Building.Also attending the ceremony were President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, and President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency. Among other General Authorities present were Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Presiding Bishop Merrill J. Bateman, and his counselors, Bishop H. David Burton and Bishop Richard C. Edgley, and several members of the Quorums of the Seventy.
Mayor Corradini and Salt Lake City Councilman Sam Souvall made brief comments before the program was turned over to President Hinckley, who offered remarks and then pronounced the prayer to dedicate City Creek Park on the north side of Second Avenue and Brigham Young Historic Park on the south. The two parks are joined by City Creek, which runs from City Creek Canyon and Memory Grove. The 1.7-acre City Creek Park is owned by Salt Lake City; the Brigham Young Historic Park, located on about an acre of land, is owned by the Church.
City Creek is of significance in the history of the city and the Church. Water from the creek sustained life after the Mormon pioneers settled the Salt Lake Valley. The creek water provided the main source of irrigation for crops. Since 1914, the creek had been forced to run underground. Design for the two new parks included bringing the water of City Creek to the surface again. It flows through City Creek Park, goes under Second Avenue, and resurfaces to flow in Brigham Young Historic Park.
President Hinckley referred to the collaboration between the city and the Church to build the parks. Noting that ground for the project was broken June 12, he congratulated members of the city council, many city employees and others who worked to complete City Creek Park, and thanked Leonard Grassli and Scott Van Dyke, the architects, together with Church employees and the contractor and subcontractors "who have worked so diligently" to complete Brigham Young Historic Park.
"Each park is different from the other, but each complements the other," President Hinckley said. "Moving water is a feature of each, and how beautiful it is in this desert climate. It is rather significant that both have been completed at the same time and can be jointly dedicated.
"There are a few details yet to be taken care of. For instance, in the Church park, there will be bronze life-size figures to give the realistic impression of people working to make this area productive. There will also be a suitable bronze plaque to recognize Brigham Young, who had this as his farm while he was alive. The water wheel is turning, the trees are growing, the grass is green, a part of the old wall of Brigham Young's farm stands in place, and there is a patch of garden reminiscent of the farm once found here."
President Hinckley offered the prayer dedicating the parks as "two small oases, places of quiet and peace and beauty in the midst of the traffic which moves about them." He noted they are reminders of the past when the waters of City Creek Canyon flowed along their natural channels bringing life to the desert landscape. "Those waters were subsequently used for irrigation to make the desert blossom as the rose in fulfillment of the words of the Prophet Isaiah," he said. "A reminder of the beauty that came of irrigation is found here."
He asked that the parks "afford refuge from the rush and hurry of the city," and "provide a place where the weary may sit and rest with the soft music of moving water" and "provide an oasis for contemplation and reflection." He asked that they "stand as reminders of the past, and of the need on the part of all of us for refreshment of the mind and the spirit."
In her remarks, Mayor Corradini commented that there are many cities where water is a feature in the downtown areas and it gives those cities character. "Water in the West is often something which divides people," she said. "People fight over water, and yet here we have water bringing people together, bringing our community together."
Councilman Souvall, who represents the district where the parks are located, said when people come together to solve a common problem barriers are broken down. "There is a mutual respect that is built up," he said. "Confidences are increased, not only in the process but also in each other. It becomes more difficult to hold onto polarizing views."