Sunday Funday — Provo Rec Center Debate

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I’ve been watching the debate that’s taken place over our new recreation center and feel it’s time for me to comment as it relates to the option of opening its doors on Sunday.

I’d like to preface the discussion with the backdrop of understanding that this is not a religious-based debate. Where it’s made sense, we’ve opened amenities on Sunday. Our splash pad at Pioneer Park is a perfect example.

This afternoon in Council Work Session, a conversation over the rec center is scheduled and this subject will likely come up as the revenues of the facility are discussed.

At first blush, an argument can be made to allow patrons access to the building and pools each day of the week. We’ve come up with what we feel is a little better than rough cost of a Sunday opening.

Under the current model, we would spend roughly $4,300 a day at a minimum just to staff at bare bones levels. This gets us 8 employees to staff the Community Center, front desk, and fitness center. In addition, if the pools are open that’s 8 lifeguards for the indoor pool and 8 outdoors. We need 4 employees for the child watch, 6 cleaners, 2 maintenance workers, and a manager who has to be at the facility at all times.

When you multiply that over the 52 Sundays in the year it comes to $223,600. This is almost a quarter of a million dollars without any real additional revenue. If we shrink the hours to only being open from eleven to five which some have suggested, we land closer to the $90,000 a year.

In addition, we would need to add management-level staffing to accommodate for the extra day. That cost has not been factored into the numbers I’ve shared nor have some of the other intangibles.

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  1. Jon

    As with any other day of the week, if operating Sundays presents a disproportionate financial strain, then their needs to be a compelling reason to do so.

  2. Dannielle

    With as much as you charge for memberships, opening on Sundays shouldn’t be a problem.

    1. John

      Dannielle – Thank you for the comment on the post. We wrestled with what to charge for access to the facility for several months. Giving away memberships to residents wasn’t an option but neither was charging excessive amounts. We think we landed somewhere in between.

      Opening an additional day would raise the subsidy by 30%-40%. I don’t think residents are interested in that kind of increase.

      -John

  3. Christian Asplund

    I’m against opening on Sundays. It will most certainly cause people to have to work that day who’d rather not.

  4. Kent

    I’m glad to see you are having the discussion. While I would not use it or want my family to work on a Sunday, we need to realize that we live in a diverse community and there are those that have different religious beliefs. I’m glad to see you approaching this from business standpoint, not a religious one.

  5. Joe

    From the financial standpoint I it would be better to have the facility closed on Sundays. Provo city already spends a ridiculous amount of money on unneeded things.

  6. JB

    I live in Bountiful and our Rec. Center is open on Sunday from 11:00 – 4:00 pm, what if you cut the hours back? I think that your payroll numbers are really high! I also did not join the Rec. Center just because they were or were not open on Sunday!

  7. Maggie Rodriguez

    I agree with Christian. The Rec Center should not be opened on Sunday unless it is able to sustain enough employees who are perfectly willing to work on Sunday. And by perfectly willing, I do mean perfectly willing–I don’t mean people who are forced to compromise personal beliefs in order to get/keep a job there. Requiring open work availability on a day that is considered the Sabbath by the majority is a form of discrimination that is rampant in Utah and especially Utah Valley. We need more businesses that aren’t open on Sunday, and more businesses that allow their workers to maintain work schedules that don’t conflict with their religious beliefs.

  8. Brian

    h Golds Gym closed Sunday, 24 hr fitness closed Sunday, Seven Peaks closed Sunday. Its obvious to similar private businesses that it does not make business sense to be open Sunday.

  9. Bret

    Limited Sunday hours sounds like the best choice for maximizing the facilities access and use.

    How’s the 9 – 10 PM utilization rate and the 5 – 6 am utilization rate weekdays? Maybe several days during the week close at 9 and/or open at 6 to offset labor while covering prime Sunday use hours. My family will support Sunday access.

    Provo is family friendly …. and should be seven says a week. If we”re going to subsidize a golf course that’s open on Sunday, it’s seems to me pools and rec facilities being accessible would benefit a wider population of our city.

  10. Michael

    The center should not be open on Sunday. Businesses and public facilities across the country close Sunday. Stop trying to change that. Thank you Mayor Curtis for commenting on this. The employees deserve a day off. The employees there are already overworked, understaffed, and underpaid and the center is making more than enough in revenue.

  11. Michelle

    We need to make sure that we are not making poor business choices based on emotions. As a taxpayer I don’t want my dollars wasted on opening the rec center when it is not in full use. If we could find a way to break even or make a profit then lets try on a limited basis and then we can say we did it and this is what happened. Then we can back up our decision to open or not with facts. Also, I worked in the restaurant business for many years and I was required to work on sundays or I would lose my job. I would not want the city to have to force people to work on sunday, in order to get the shifts covered.
    Lets be open, but reasonable. We are all want whats best for our city.

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