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Provo Rec Center celebrates five years and subsidy free

By Genelle Pugmire daily Herald - | May 27, 2018
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People play basketball on the various courts Friday, May 25, 2018, at the Provo Recreation Center and Pool. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Carissa Fronk, of Provo, scans her membership pass to enter the facility Friday, May 25, 2018, at the Provo Recreation Center and Pool. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Rebecca Burrows plays racquetball with her husband, Carl, both of Springville, on Friday, May 25, 2018, at the Provo Recreation Center and Pool. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Andrea Mehner pays for admission into the facility beside her husband, Kevin, both of Vineyard, on Friday, May 25, 2018, at the Provo Recreation Center and Pool. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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A child flows down a slide Friday, May 25, 2018, at the Provo Recreation Center and Pool. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

It has been five years since the Provo Recreation Center at 500 North and Freedom Boulevard opened to swarms of residents and non-residents wanting to be a part of the new center and what it has to offer.

Provo residents have the No. 1 recreation center in the nation, according to Scott Henderson, Parks and Recreation director. The nearly weekly visits from recreation center directors across the country prove Provo is unique in what it has.

“I don’t know if people in Provo know how much we have in Parks and Recreation,” Henderson said. “We have three facilities that are self-sufficient — completely independent. Find me another community in the U.S. that can say that.”

Besides the recreation center, there are 55 parks, the Covey Center for the Arts and the Provo City Cemetery.

To celebrate its fifth birthday party, on June 1, the recreation center and its programs will become even more unique when the city begins offering Triple Play Memberships, which includes access to the Peaks Ice Arena, East Bay Golf Course and Provo Recreation Center.

According to Henderson, people who hold current center passes will be able to add on free entrance and use of the Peaks Ice Arena and the East Bay Golf Course. It requires no extra costs or purchases. As of June 1, new memberships will include the triple play pass offerings.

At East Bay Golf Course, members will get 50 percent off the par 3 course green fee including rental clubs; 50 percent off a bucket of balls at the driving range; 50 percent of the cost of foot golf including the soccer ball and free access to practice greens and free group golf instruction.

The Peaks Ice Arena offer provides members free open Ice Skating (skate rental not included), 6,000 square feet of functional fitness workout space, 30+ weekly Olympic lifting, field house, TRX and other functional fitness classes and access to personal and team training and more.

“The Provo Recreation Center stands ready to deliver the most unique and dynamic Triple Play membership package to our citizens,” said Bryce Merrill, recreation center manager. “Combining our Provo-based recreational assets, including the most successful Recreation Center, former Olympic venue ice arena, and our beautiful golf course in one membership package, at no extra cost, is unbeatable.”

Prior to the newly combined recreation center facilities, the Provo High School recreation center, the Eldred Center and The Center were all separate buildings, which were being subsidized by the city for approximately $1 million a year.

The new recreation center eliminated its subsidy needs from the city within the first year of operation, according to Henderson.

It’s now giving back to the city general fund $500,000 a year. The Peaks Ice Arena was an $800,000 subsidy and is now down to zero subsidies. The same is true of the golf course. Covey Center for the Arts that started at $636,000 in subsidies is now at $343,000.

“Why wouldn’t you get a membership?” Henderson said. Speaking of the recreation center he said, “It is the perfect model.”

Along with the indoor water facilities, the outdoor pool opened Saturday for the summer. Also located at the North Park facilities will be the new all-access playground, the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers museum and the Pioneer Village.

“North Park and the recreation center is a hub for the community,” Henderson said.

Another sign of success is the integration of, the Eldred Center for those 60+ into the senior center at the recreation center, Henderson said, “The Eldred Center was servicing 300 seniors. We are now serving 3,000.”

When it comes to the city parks, Henderson is proud of the new Mountain Bike course in Slate Canyon, the new Spring Creek Park that opens soon and the successful dog park.

Henderson said he gets asked all the time how the department does it and he said it always comes back to the residents.

“We are in a community that loves recreation,” Henderson said. “When we opened we didn’t expect one of every five residents to be a member of the center. 15 percent of the membership comes from other towns and those who work in Provo.”

The Provo recreation center is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The outdoor pool is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Both are closed Sunday. For information about the new Triple Play Pass, visit https://provo.org/recreation.

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