This is the Place Heritage Park takes a step into the future

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    By Emily Coleman

    In a setting reminiscent of the 1840”s, Brigham Young and other pioneers welcome guests and tell them, ”This is the place.”

    The place is well known as This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City, and after a $2 million appropriation by the Legislature, the park is looking towards the future.

    The Heritage Park is a living-history park that includes costumed characters that demonstrate the day-to-day life of pioneers. The villagers act and dress in the time period in order to give guests an accurate view of life in the 1840”s.

    The money, park spokesman Rod Clifford said, is not to be used for routine park expenses, but rather for changes that will reduce costs and increase efficiency in Park operations.

    The new board chairman, Ellis Ivory, said in a press release that the new operating approach would include a smaller staff, lower costs, and greater reliance on volunteers.

    “One of the things that I”m trying to do is seek even more volunteer help,” Ivory said. “With the concept of living history, we need to do a lot more with that.”

    One of these improvements is the reopening of the Brigham Young farmhouse.

    “It is the original house that stood on Brigham”s 800-acre farm in the Sugar House area of the valley,” said Clifford. “It will be the scene of a number of activities this season, depending upon the availability of volunteers.”

    All the costumed characters are volunteers, and are very important to the park”s continuance, said Viki Strong, volunteer director for the park.

    “This year is exciting because we have some new and enthusiastic volunteers, new facets to programming as well as some returning attractions,” Strong said. “All it takes to become a volunteer is to have a love of history, Utah, and our pioneer heritage, although not all of our pioneers are of the LDS faith.”

    In addition to the on-going tours available at the park, there will be a continuance of some of the major events held at the park. In the past these events have included Pioneer Festival, Brigham Young”s Birthday, Liberty Days, Haunted Deseret and Candlelight Christmas.

    Another of the attractions at the Park will be “Welcome Home,” a variety show performed by some of the BYU Young Ambassadors.

    The park will open on Memorial Day, and will continue operations until the end of the season on Labor Day.

    “This is the Place is not just a site for Mormon visitors,” Strong said. “It is representative of the kind of community that might be found anywhere along the Oregon Trail. It is a hands-on, learn about your past kind of place.”

    Those interested in volunteering at the park can contact Viki Strong at 801-924-7506.

    This is the Place Heritage Park

    Where: 2601 East Sunnyside Avenue, Salt Lake City

    Hours of Operation: Monday & Friday 11 am- 8 pm; Tuesday-Thursday & Saturday 11 am- 6 pm

    Admission: Daily: Adults $5, Children 3-11 and Seniors $2 Events: Adults $6, Children 3-11 and Seniors $4. Groups of 10+ receive $1 discount per person.

    More Information: Call 801-582-1847 or visit www.thisistheplace.org

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