May 17, 2008 Editorial |

May 17, 2008 Editorial

Pay now, play later: residents support recreation

From the Summit County Fairgrounds in North Summit to the baseball diamonds at the Oakley Recreation Complex in South Summit and westward to the jungle gyms and playing fields in Trailside, local residents are emerging after a tough winter to, finally, play in the sun.

Those residents and others around the county are also taking stock of their community’s parks, fields, pools and playground equipment and asking for more. And, in most cases, despite a tight economy, they are telling their elected officials that they are willing to dig into their pockets to improve and expand publicly funded recreation.

Wednesday, a group of North Summit residents from Coalville and Henefer told Summit County Commissioners they support forming a new taxing district to fund joint recreation facilities. In fact, earlier this year, 88 percent of North Summit residents who responded to a survey supported forming a district to help fund an indoor multipurpose recreation center.

They may be taking their cue from the enormous popularity of the school-district-supported aquatic center in Kamas, the success of the indoor riding arena and surrounding playing fields built by the town of Oakley, and the community-wide support of the Snyderville Basin Recreation District’s field house. All were supported by taxpayers and are now being heavily used by residents throughout the county.

But Park City is the real leader in the field of public recreation in Summit County. The city began aggressively investing in outdoor parks and indoor gyms in the 1980s. Thanks to a series of voter-approved bonds, Park City built fields, tennis and volleyball courts, a barbecue area and a band pavilion at City Park and bought a privately-owned but faltering racquet club which was turned into an public pool, tennis and gym club. Had they waited, escalating land and construction prices might have made the projects infeasible. Now Park City residents are contemplating a second round of funding to renovate the building they bought nearly three decades ago.

Coalville residents should take note that, this week, only one resident at a recent open house in Park City, spoke out against the city’s original decision to buy the Racquet Club.

Overwhelmingly, city and county residents have embraced their public playgrounds, fields and pools. If North Summit residents begin to invest in public recreation now, it is likely they will never regret it.

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