Recreation center fees reduced on red air days

SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake County Council approved a measure that will cut daily admission fees to county recreation centers in half on red air days.

The ordinance was proposed by council members Sam Granato and Jim Bradley, but Granato said the idea actually came from one of the county residents.

“I got a letter from a constituent, saying we have these terrible days, we like to recreate, it’s tough to go outside,” Granato said.

The ordinance will offer the reduced fee for days on which the Utah Department of Environmental Quality deems the air “unhealthy.” Granato said the goal is to give residents an alternative to exercising outside on those days.

“We should do something about it,” Granato said. “We have an opportunity with our beautiful rec Centers to provide a service. It’s the right thing to do.”

Granato and Bradley estimate the county sells more than 1,000 daily passes to the county’s 17 recreation centers. Users have mixed reaction to the ordinance. Salt Lake Resident Ted Roberts said he likes the idea.

“It’s a good idea, gets people off the streets,” Roberts said. “There’s a little bit cleaner air in there.”

But Salt Lake Resident Brenda Lower said, despite a valiant effort on the county’s part, she thinks the fee reduction will do little to promote recreation center use on red air days.

“I don’t think it would be terribly useful,” Lower said. “I think the people who exercise outside are still going to exercise outside.”

Another concern among council members is a loss in revenue. Granato said numbers projected an estimated loss of close to $75,000, based on current attendance. But Granato said he expects the special price to be a marketing incentive as well.

“We will find new customers once they visit the rec. center,” Granato said. “I’m looking for increased business and more revenue.”

The county council passed the measure on a 7-1 vote during a work session Tuesday afternoon, adding that the council will re-address its effectiveness in June 2014. Council members are expected to formally adopt the ordinance at Tuesday’s council meeting.

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