PROVO — Despite some vigorous discussion happening on social media, Provo is not considering opening the new Recreation Center on Sundays.
The city is working on a Parks and Rec Master Plan, which will be considered at the municipal council meeting on Tuesday, and the issue of Sundays dovetailed off that discussion, said Provo Deputy Mayor Corey Norman. The council was talking about how successful the new facility has been — it opened earlier this year and already about a quarter of Provo residents own a membership — and one of the council members brought up the idea of Sundays.
The issue spread to Provo discussion groups on Facebook, where comments ranged from a simple “No” to “Yes please!” Those in the no camp explained that they didn’t want to pay more in taxes so that people could use the rec center seven days a week or that they didn’t want to force employees to work on Sunday. Those in the yes camp say that other cities have rec centers open every day, that many people can only go on Sundays and that city services should be available every day of the week.
“It’s a little more complicated than saying let’s open the doors on Sunday,” Norman said.
He said that it would just cost too much to open the facility on Sundays —$250,000 per year in additional subsidies to the center. That’s because the law would require the city to have nine lifeguards on duty in the indoor pool, two people at the front desk and another two people at the community desk, a manager and cleaning crew. And in the summer another eight or nine lifeguards for the outdoor pool.
The city already subsidizes the center to the tune of $200,000 per year, he said.
Provo isn’t alone in closing its rec center on Sundays. No other rec center in Utah County is open on Sunday, though in Salt Lake County there are two rec centers open on Sundays and one in Davis County, he said. And outside of Utah, no rec centers in Los Angeles open their doors on Sundays, and of the approximately 30 rec centers in the Denver metro area, only two are open on Sundays.
When Provo opened its new splash pad at Pioneer Park this year, it was off on Sundays. After requests from residents, the city changed its policy and had the water running seven days a week. Provo’s Veterans Pool was open on Sundays until the mid-1990s when then-mayor George Stewart decided to close city facilities, except the golf course, on Sundays.