Expansion in the works for Hurricane’s growing recreation programs

Hurricane Community Center, Hurricane, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Bryce King, St. George News

HURRICANE — A presentation at Thursday’s Hurricane City Council meeting on the state of the city’s recreation department showed how most recreation programs are growing and explored ideas for new programs.

A graph showing membership growth in Hurricane City's recreation programs. Image courtesy of Bryan King, St. George News
Graph shows membership growth in the city of Hurricane recreation programs | Image courtesy of Bryan King, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Director of Leisure Services Bryce King conducted the presentation.

Membership in the city’s various recreation programs has grown substantially in the past five years, King said, rising from a couple hundred people in 2011 to over 3,000 in 2016.

Most of the city’s athletics programs saw either growth or steady plateau. The most popular programs are youth soccer, youth baseball and youth basketball.

Notably, youth tackle football has seen a steady decline with youth flag football’s popularity rising.

“Next year we’ll know for sure if more kids are moving from tackle to flag due to concussions and safety,” King said.

City-sponsored races saw a surge in popularity, and the city’s half marathon was brought back after years of hiatus, attracting hundreds of entrants.

New programs and facilities

A mock-up design of a possible skate park, encompassing the area of a tennis court, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Bryan King, St. George News
A mock-up design of a possible skate park, encompassing the area of a tennis court, location and date not specified | Image courtesy of Bryan King, St. George News

New programs under consideration for the future include a focus on outdoor recreation, including mountain biking, hiking, archery and rock climbing.

Several mock-ups showing possible designs for city skate parks were presented.

A smaller park that would take up about as much space as a tennis court would cost the city about $54,000. A full-featured park would cost around $80,000. Plans for a possible multiuse park that includes grassy areas and skate ramps were estimated at $50,000.

“Sure would help the museum from being vandalized and would help my building as well if we could find a lot of kids a place like that to skate,” King said.

Field use fees

The city of Hurricane field use fees are lax compared to the rest of the state, King said.

Currently, field use is free as long as the club or rec program is based in the city, but King argued it is only fair that club sports should be subject to fees.

My opinion is that rec and state programs should take precedence over club sports,” King said, explaining that city recreation programs are equal opportunity, whereas club sports are based on talent and players are cut.

He also suggested outside teams pay a higher rate than is currently charged.

City pool

The city’s pool has seen its use plateau in the past few years, King said, but it is bringing in more money in combined concession and entry fees.

Leisure Services Director Bryce King presents on the state of recreation in Hurricane for the City Council, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 20, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
Leisure Services Director Bryce King presents on the state of recreation in Hurricane for the City Council, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 20, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Swimming lessons participants went up to close to 1,000 participants in 2016. This included a new adaptive swim lessons program for special needs children.

A request for access to the city pool was presented by Jesse Kochel, who said the members of the high school’s 28-person swim team must use the Washington Recreation Center’s pool at unreasonably late or early hours.

Kochel proposed keeping the city pool open during the October to January swim season to allow more practical hours for the team’s athletes.

The cost to heat the pool and chemically treat it would rise as a result, but several attendant parents of team members said they would be willing to help foot the bill. Members of the council also suggested grant and RAP tax money could be explored, as well as having Toquerville and LaVerkin share in the cost.

“Our son’s 14, and he’s getting home and in bed by 11:15 at night,” Jason Grygla, a parent of one of the athletes, said. “That’s not fair. And if we’re going to have a sport, let’s make it so they can actually do it instead of punishing them.”

The council called for a committee to be formed to come up with a recommendation and budget request for future proceedings on the matter of pool access.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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