Elementary students and Mayor Mendenhall plant trees at Salt Lake City's new 9-Line Orchard | News | Salt Lake City Weekly

Elementary students and Mayor Mendenhall plant trees at Salt Lake City's new 9-Line Orchard 

Fruit by the Foot

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click to enlarge Parkview Elementary students plant a tree at the 9-Line Community Orchard on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. - BENJAMIN WOOD
  • Benjamin Wood
  • Parkview Elementary students plant a tree at the 9-Line Community Orchard on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

POPLAR GROVE—A new Community Orchard is welcoming Salt Lakers traveling along the 9-Line trail this spring, with several fruit trees planted by Parkview Elementary students on Tuesday in celebration of the project's first phase being completed.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall noted that it could take a decade or more for the trees to mature and for the orchard space at 1100 W. Hayes Avenue to realize its full potential. She described the elementary students returning to the site—a city-owned parcel that sat empty for years—in the future with their own children, showing them the tree they had once planted and enjoying a picnic under its shade.

"The best time to plant a tree is 25 years ago," Mendenhall said. "But the next best time is today."

click to enlarge Mayor Erin Mendenhall (at podium) and City Council member Alejandro Puy (left) address reporters at a tree planting on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. - BENJAMIN WOOD
  • Benjamin Wood
  • Mayor Erin Mendenhall (at podium) and City Council member Alejandro Puy (left) address reporters at a tree planting on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

City plans show a second phase of the orchard, to be built a short distance to the west on a similar parcel abutting Emery Avenue, one of the west side's neighborhood byways, or slow-speed streets designated to prioritize walking, cycling and community connection over driving. The initial, completed portion of the orchard was facilitated by the closure of one block of 1100 West, turning redundant driving lanes into park space and allowing the 9-Line trail to continue uninterrupted from the orchard and through the Fife Wetland Preserve to the Jordan River Parkway.

"The improvements in this area are rich, and there are many of them," Mendenhall said.

The 9-Line trail was largely finished last year. It was built in a decommissioned freight rail right-of-way and runs from Redwood Road to The Whale at 900 South and 1100 East, connecting to both Liberty Park and Jordan Park/International Peace Gardens. It will eventually serve as the southern segment of the Green Loop, a proposal to convert redundant vehicle lanes into a linear park space that encircles downtown.

The city and the Utah Department of Transportation are beginning work this year on two additional trails—one on the 400 South viaduct between 900 West and 200 West and another on the west side of 700 East (UDOT's Highway 71) between Liberty Park and the S-Line/Parley's Trail. The space for the 700 East trail is the remnant of a row of lawns for homes that were demolished during UDOT's last round of widening.

Salt Lake City Council member Alejandro Puy, who represents the Poplar Grove area, described the new Community Orchard as a west-side "hidden gem" located next to other hidden gems.

"This is another community space that we deserve," Puy said, "a community space that we not only enjoy by visiting it, but we can also taste it and enjoy the beautiful, sweet fruit that grows here."

click to enlarge Amy May of Tree Utah gestures to a group of Parkview Elementary students while planting a tree at the 9-Line Community Orchard on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. - BENJAMIN WOOD
  • Benjamin Wood
  • Amy May of Tree Utah gestures to a group of Parkview Elementary students while planting a tree at the 9-Line Community Orchard on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.
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About The Author

Benjamin Wood

Benjamin Wood

Bio:
Lifelong Utahn Benjamin Wood has worn the mantle of City Weekly's news editor since 2021. He studied journalism at Utah State University and previously wrote for The Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News and Entertainment Weekly

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