Orem residents spoke up in favor of a bond to refurbish the fitness center and library at a public hearing Tuesday night.

The Orem City Council held a public hearing Tuesday night during its regular council meeting in conjunction with the $24.5 million general obligation bond residents will vote on during the November election. All those who spoke during the public hearing said they were in favor of the bond because the dated facility needs updating.

“This is a great opportunity for our city to rise above and to step into 2018,” said Jenn Gale, Orem Community Improvements Committee chair. “Orem needs this because we need to have a little self-respect. We don’t want our fitness center to say what it says. Our fitness center tells the world that we don’t mind if our facility is failing, we don’t mind if it’s a little dumpy, we’re okay with that. And I don’t think that’s what Orem is.”

The bond would help the city’s fitness center, including adding a suspended track, a community events room, family changing rooms, an indoor playground and an improved childcare room. The indoor pools would stay open during the project.

The bond will also provide for a new 20,000-square-foot library hall that includes a stage with seating for up to 500 patrons, a classroom and exhibit space. If passed, crews will break ground on the project in summer 2019. The library hall would open in summer 2020 and the fitness center would open in winter 2021.

Adrienne Penrod said she is excited about the addition of family changing rooms and the childcare updates. She’s been using the recreation center since 2002, when her children were little, and those updates would have made using the center better for her family.

She is also excited about the suspended track, as she sometimes opts to use the tracks at the Provo Recreation Center or Pleasant Grove Recreation Center to avoid walking in the sometimes damp “dungeon” track at the Orem center watched over by a “portrait of Ronald Reagan.”

“I don’t know if you’ve seen it … It could be updated,” she said with a chuckle. “It’s such a bummer down there. It’s kind of depressing.”

Orem residents will vote Nov. 6 on the bond. Brenn Bybee, assistant city manager, shared data with the council Tuesday night showing that support from the bond went up to 73 percent of residents since August.

The bond would be paid back in 30 years, with no increase in city taxes because two other general obligation bonds will be paid off — one by the end of this year, the other in 2025 — Bybee said Tuesday night.

Karissa Neely reports on Business and North County events, and can be reached at 801-344-2537 or kneely@heraldextra.com. Follow her on Twitter: @DHKarissaNeely

Karissa Neely reports on Business & Community events, and loves telling people’s stories.

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