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Newly-opened Allen Park closes for winter due to safety reasons

A layer of snow blankets the scattered folk art and historic structures throughout the property of Allen Park on Jan. 26 2019. Since opening to the public Oct. 4, the revived park has seen hundreds if not thousands of visitors. The demands of winter maintenance led the Salt Lake City Public Lands Division to close the park until March 2021. (Joshua Messier)

The Salt Lake City Public Lands Division has closed Allen Park for the winter season as of Dec. 29. 

Opened to the public just a few months ago, the private property turned city-owned art park has seen hundreds if not thousands of visitors meandering along Allen Park Drive. 

According to the Public Lands Division, the road’s condition makes plowing impossible, the proximity of Emigration Creek makes salting impractical and a lack of man-power makes snow shoveling by hand difficult. Because of these difficulties, Salt Lake City residents should not expect to visit the park again until the end of March 2021.

After George and Ruth Allen purchased the property in 1931, the space served as a sanctuary for “both birds and people,” according to the Public Lands Division, which accounts for the ongoing peafowl population. 

“During the 1940s, Dr. Allen added 15 little hodgepodge duplexes to sustain the park financially,” according to the Public Lands Division’s site about the property. “Over the years, students, professors, hippies, loners, and artists lived in the wonderment of Allen Park. Once the park became neglected and overgrown, the peculiar homes led to the long-standing myth that Allen Park was a ‘hobbitville.’” 

Finally, Salt Lake City purchased the property across the road from Westminster College for roughly $7.5 million in early 2020, according to the Salt Lake Tribune

Enan Whitby, Westminster sociology major, said he had visited the park during the fall but had not heard about the closure. 

“I hope the city takes the opportunity to make sure the buildings don’t fall into further disrepair over the winter,” Whitby said. 

Izzy Neves, Westminster neuroscience major, said she also had not heard about the closure but was not surprised. She said she’s looking forward to returning in the spring.

“I think it will be even more enjoyable in the spring when it’s warmer and being outside is more enjoyable,” Neves said. “Maybe more peacocks will be there, then, too.” 

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Marisa Cooper
Marisa Cooper is a senior communication major with a psychology minor. She hopes to find a career path within public relations or journalism with time for a mindful work/life balance. As of late, she’s been exploring passions for embroidery, hiking, house plants and podcasts. Marisa is thrilled to take on the role of managing editor this year.

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