BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Mayor seeks free pass for kids to all Salt Lake County rec centers

Nov 3, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: 7:32 pm

Mason Towns swims laps at the Draper Recreation Center in Draper on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021....

Mason Towns swims laps at the Draper Recreation Center in Draper on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.

SALT LAKE CITY — Right now kids are charged an entry fee to all rec centers, but Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson wants to change that despite the “tough budget year.”

The All-County Pass includes access to all Salt Lake County recreation centers, outdoor pools, group fitness classes and public-skating sessions. The cost for youth (ages 3–17):

  • $22 monthly
  • $135 yearly

Find out more about fees for all county facilities: Recreation Fee Guide.

Wilson is proposing making up for the money — she says  $5 to $7 per kid visit — by taxing out-of-town guests staying at hotels and motels.

“What that means is we’re actually passing on the cost to our visitors,” Wilson said.

Additionally, she said Salt Lake County would have a bed tax for when visitors come.

“We all know that when we travel. We go to other communities; they added as well. The county is able to capture that revenue and put it towards maintenance our parks and recreation,” the mayor said. “… It’s not the property taxpayer in Salt Lake County.”

What will the proposal cost?

Wilson says there are 25 recreation centers — each costs between $30 and $50 million — to serve the county population of 1.1 million residents.

“But we know that in this era of kids being sometimes glued to their electronic devices  … social media is not a positive impact on these kids, to say the least,” she said. “Let’s get them in [the rec centers] after school and help them meet friends there and really not have the barrier of the $5 to $7 that we’re charging.”

She said a child’s parents will need to approve the pass. Wilson said she hopes the county council signs off on the proposal despite this year being leaner fiscally than years past.

“This is a tough budget year for Salt Lake County,” she said. “We’re not in a recession, but we’re not seeing that growth in sales tax and property taxes as we have in previous years.”

Related: Teaching kids to read shouldn’t be a partisan issue, former teacher says

 

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Mayor seeks free pass for kids to all Salt Lake County rec centers