After Sgt. Cory Wride was killed in the line of duty in 2014, Eagle Mountain city officials wanted to honor his legacy.
Wride, a sergeant with the Eagle Mountain division of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed during a traffic stop outside Eagle Mountain on Jan. 30, 2014.
“Following Sgt. Wride’s death, it was important to Eagle Mountain that his sacrifice while protecting our community not be forgotten and that his memory be connected to not only somberness, but joy,” said Mayor Tom Westmoreland in a 2018 Daily Herald column.
The park was named the Cory Wride Memorial Park in 2015 in honor of Wride and was built to be a central gathering place for the families of the growing town.
Situated on Pony Express Parkway near the center of the town, it is connected to the city bike and trail systems as well.
"What I think makes it unique is the sense of community that it has provided," said Brad Hickman, parks and recreation director in Eagle Mountain. "It has become a gathering place for many to enjoy all throughout the season with recreational opportunities."
The park has many unique attributes that make it a fitting tribute to Wride’s memory, and a fun place for families and kids of all ages.
1. Lots of space
The park covers 65 acres, which gives plenty of space for play. The park was opened in two phases, the first of which included baseball fields located on the west end of the park. The second phase of the park consisted of 25 acres and opened in the summer of 2018.
2. A water feature
It’s already shut off for the year, but the park includes a splash pad that is more than just simple spouts of water. The water feature includes five waterfalls. The splash pad is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend each year.
3. A playground for younger kids
One portion of the park is geared toward younger users, but that doesn’t mean it's a baby park by any means.
Signs at this area indicate that the section is geared toward kids aged 2 to 5. The area includes a smaller playground with a slide and a very unique area with what look like logs for kids to balance and walk along. There is also a small version net-climbing structure. It offers a way for younger kids to play and have fun without being lost in the commotion of older kids’ play.
4. Elements for all abilities
Along with having an area for younger users, Cory Wride Memorial Park includes structures geared toward kids of all abilities, including those with disabilities.
"We tried to focalize the importance of the park meeting the needs of everyone in the community," Hickman said. "We added elements that allow for opportunities for everyone in the community to enjoy. I feel like it stands out as one of a kind."
Some of the park’s all-abilities features include a merry-go-round that is closer to the ground, a teeter-totter with wheelchair access, swings and zip lines with larger chairs that have safety harnesses and a chair zip line.
The ground in a large portion of the park is also made of smooth turf that is easily navigated with wheels.
5. Musical toys
Some parks have small features that make noise or music, but at the Cory Wride park, it's taken to another level. There is an area with large-scale chimes and xylophones as well as a drum area.
6. Zip lines
There are two zip lines at the park, one of which is built as a chair, perfect for those of all abilities. The other is a rope with a seat at the end.
The zip lines move in both directions, which is also unique, meaning that there is no dragging the zip line back to the start before going down. There is an incline at each end to speed up and then slow down.
7. Sports courts
Along with the baseball fields built in the original phase of construction, the park includes several courts for pickleball, basketball and tennis.
There is also a large open area that is used for soccer fields or other community events.
8. Unique swings
Many parks include swings, but the swings at Cory Wride Park are definitely unique. There are regular sling swings and a baby swing, but there are also, large chair swings with plastic harnesses and a large saucer swing.
The swings are configured in a large circle, meaning that there is plenty of space to swing without worrying about hitting other kids.
9. A sand area
It may not be a sandy beach, but the sand area at Cory Wride Park is definitely fun. There are three diggers where kids can use the handles to manipulate the bucket to pick up sand. two of the diggers have seats. The third is built into a cement pad which is perfect for those who need wheelchair access.
The sand area also has sand tables perfect for getting dirty.
10. Challenges for all ages
One of the park’s most unique aspects is that it is built for kids of all ages, including older kids.
One of the park’s most visible features is a very large rope climbing pyramid. The structure provides a perfect challenge for older kids, and the day we were at the park, we saw several older kids make it clear to the top — definitely not an easy feat.
There is also a playground with a large slide and several climbing areas.
11. Slide for racing
There are several unique features at the park, that make play even more fun. There are two side-by-side slides that are built into a hill, perfect for racing down.
Getting to the top of that hill is even unique. There is a rickety bridge that kids can walk across to go up, or they can take one of the fun climbing elements up, which include a cargo net, rope climbers and parallel bars.
12. Unique toys
The park also has several unique, smaller features, like a spinning sphere where kids can sit inside while someone spins them from outside. The sphere shape is made from metal bars and ropes and is much safer than merry-go-rounds from decades ago.
There is also a four-person teeter-totter and a pirate ship that has a periscope.
13. Safe boundaries
Before the second phase of the park opened last summer, Westmoreland said in a Daily Herald column that the city was working on a perimeter fence around the park, which does surround the park now.
Westmoreland said the perimeter fence was installed “in response to requests from parents of children with autism and others who have difficulty staying within safe boundaries.”
14. A home for community events
The park has two pavilions, one large and one small. Next to the larger pavilion is a what is called a “festival field.” While the space is used for soccer fields, it is also used for several community events.
"The area has been host to many parties, festivals, city events and organized sports," Hickman said. "The community of Eagle Mountain has expressed their appreciation for this park in their community."
The city’s farmer’s market is currently held at the park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays through Oct. 26. In December, the city’s Christmas Village will be hosted at the park.
Other events, like Pony Express Days, the city’s Folk Dance, the Utah South Pacific Festival and a Utah County Sheriff’s Meet & Greet also have been held at the park.
15. Additional space for growth
When the second phase of the park opened in the summer of 2018, Hickman said that there are still about 20 acres of park left to be developed, but he explained that plans have not been finalized for that phase yet.
To read more unique and fun facts about other Utah County parks, visit http://heraldextra.com/parks.