Summarized by Kent Larsen
Gilgal Now Owned by Salt Lake City, But Not Park Yet
Salt Lake Tribune 10Jul00 A4
By Rebecca Walsh: Salt Lake Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The status of the Gilgal Garden is finally settled.
The non-profit Trust for Public Lands purchased the sculpture garden from
the Fetzer family and turned over the title to Salt Lake City on Friday,
finally saving the Garden from possible destruction from developers. But
several steps remain before it becomes a public park.
The garden is the creation of LDS bishop Thomas Child, a stonemason and
sculptor Maurice Brooks, who filled the garden with an eclectic group of
sculptures and stoneworks, many of which reflect LDS themes. When Child died
in 1963, the garden was purchased by Henry Fetzer, who's children wanted to
sell the garden because of the liability and maintenance costs.
The Friends of Gilgal started three years ago, persuading the Fetzer family
to not sell the garden to a Canadian real estate company that wanted to
build condominiums. Persuading the San Francisco-based Trust for Public
Lands to intervene and buy an option on the property, they then started
raising the money needed to make the purchase. The LDS Church pledged
$100,000, as did the Eccles Foundation. Salt Lake County then pledged
$400,000, nearly completing the purchase price.
Now, with the purchase finished, several steps remain to make the garden a
public partk. utility bills need to be transferred to the city's name and
the gates and sprinkler system need to be checked. The Friends will also
need to raise another $600,000 to $800,000 to build a larger entrance, a
wrought-iron fence around the property and to restore crumbling stonework.
But the Friends of Gilgal have declared victory, and are taking a bit of a
breather. "We're tired," says Friends board member David Sucec. "But we're
ready to go on to the next phase. Now that we've saved it, we don't feel the
pressure of the deadline." The Friends have signed a curator agreement with
"It's a matter of logistics now," says city deputy attorney Lynn Pace. He
and other city attorneys still need to draft a conservation easement to
protect the property against future development, and they need to resolve
property lines that are still not clear. But Gilgal is expected to open as a
city park later this summer.
But as a city park it will remain somewhat unique, not only because of its
unique sculptures, but also because of how it will be managed. Because of
the sculptures, Gilgal will have shorter hours than most city parks, which
are open from dawn until 11 p.m. in the summer, and will have a fence around
Mormon News' coverage of the Gilgal Garden