Murray Park Center turns 20Dec 02, 2022 03:01PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
In 2002 Utah welcomed the sporting world to the Olympics; that same year, Murray welcomed sports to its brand-new Murray Park Center. To note this anniversary, the Park Center invites the public to check out the facility and celebrate with them.
“We are excited to announce on Saturday, Dec. 3, we will have a free admission day to the Park Center,” Murray City Recreation Director Soni Hirasuna said. “Please come and join us anytime between 7 a.m.-5 p.m. We encourage you to make an extra effort to join us from 3-5 p.m. for our two-hour event opportunities. We will have numerous activities scheduled for youth and adults to participate in and get their passports stamped for a chance in our drawing with great prizes. We will have fitness class samplers, carnival games in the gym, and a ducky derby in the leisure pool. We will also have staff available to take groups on tours of the facility and see if the Park Center can benefit their lives.”
Much was uncertain when the Park Center opened. At the time, most indoor recreation programs utilized nearby schools.
“Within our facility, the community has really appreciated the large gymnasium that features two full-size basketball courts and three full-size volleyball courts. It’s hard to close the building at night because the members want to keep playing. The gymnasium also features programming for pickleball, sports camps, preschool programs, basketball, and adult volleyball leagues,” Hirasuna said.
However, the Park Center has had to face unique challenges. A significant focus of the center is swimming pools and offering swim lessons. The center’s aquatics programming includes swim teams and meets, water aerobics, water polo, Splashball, and open plunge and lap swimming hours.
“Finding space and time to program everything the community wants and deserves continues to be a challenge. Everyone attending the Park Center is unique and has different interests and reasons for attending our facility. We strive to program the building for all ages and ability levels while maintaining plenty of nonscheduled hours for members to utilize the facility without areas being closed for programming. During the summer, we operate three pools, so the need for lifeguards is always a concern to keep our pools open and our public safe,” Hirasuna said.
According to Park Center Director Jennifer Leitner, “Our attendance is picking up, the center is livelier and more energetic, and our staff is looking at adding new equipment and opportunities for the public. We have 64% of our members utilize the center between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. We get a wave of members before work around 6 a.m. and after work between 5-6 p.m.”
Throughout its existence, the Park Center has depended on annual memberships. While COVID caused the center to close, they have since rebounded and recorded a 14% increase in yearly memberships.
So, what does the future hold for the Park Center?
“Currently, there is no funding in place for expansion. However, we need to expand, including another gymnasium and more programming space (open rooms). This was included and verified in the Parks and Recreation master plan. We are hopeful that funding will become available in the near future for expansion,” Murray City Parks and Recreation Director Kim Sorenson said.
Hirasuna hopes residents will take the time to learn about this community asset.
“The best way to learn is to come and participate in what the Park Center has to offer that interests you. Visualize yourself utilizing our amenities while creating long-lasting healthy fitness habits, creating great relationships, and successfully attaining your goals,” Hirasuna said. “When you come, our staff will take you on a no-pressure guided tour while answering any questions you may have. Visit us at www.murray.utah.gov, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, email or call any of the staff to learn more information.”