It's been a year since strife and enmity plagued the embattled Oquirrh Park Fitness Center in Kearns, and the change in atmosphere around the place is refreshing. Not only that, but the difference has positively impacted the budget's bottom line due to an increase of some 10,000 new members.
Those notable accomplishments don't diminish the challenges facing the center, operated under the auspices of Salt Lake Regional Service Area No. 1. Funds are tight due to a $1.7 million loan taken out last spring that allowed completion of a $10.7 million addition without a tax increase. Revenue is exceeding projections, however, which is encouraging. And management, staff, board members, politicians and patrons deserve credit for pulling together to foster healthy changes that were needed.Observers note that Oquirrh Park has evolved into a community center in a portion of the Salt Lake Valley that needs a positive rallying point. A variety of programs cater to single residents, families and senior citizens. District management is working cooperatively with schools and Salt Lake County officials to increase usage and bolster the budget.
Besides providing an array of swimming and other water-related programs, the center is used by the county for adult basketball leagues, youth soccer and Junior Jazz games. An exercise room and other facilities receive extensive personal and family use, including tennis and outdoor basketball courts during warm weather.
Oquirrh Park has evolved into a first-class recreational showpiece that illustrates what a positive, cooperative effort can accomplish when good people unite and sound management principles are followed. Residents once critical of the operation have become -- due to changes implemented by a new board of trustees and management -- some of its biggest supporters. It's nice to see some positive headway -- and some healing.