Monday, March 14, 2011

Crowded House - New recreation center could use more classes, at more times

Many of you have made it over to to the newly constructed (and remodeled) Northwest Recreation Center. Whether it's been to watch your kids splash in the pool, or trim off those unwanted winter pounds in the cardio room, you may have noticed a similar theme to your visit.

It's already too small.

"Parking is a nightmare sometimes" says one member of RPR. "In my last Zumba class (spelled "Zoomba" in some parts of the country) we were elbow to elbow in that little room. I'd hate to see what the kickboxing class looks like." Martin Jensen is quoted in an article in Park & Rec Trades that “The center has been busy since the day it opened. We have had to hire more staff to handle the number of patrons using the facility." Martin is the Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Salt Lake County's Parks and Rec System.

Granted this 62,000 square foot center is substantially smaller than many others across the valley. For example, The new J.L. Sorensen Recreation Center is nearly double its size at 107,500 square feet. However, the Northwest Recreation Center serves not only a smaller demographic, but one that's consistently labeled as less likely to exercise. In a survey completed in 2009 by the Deseret News, Rose Park was in the top 4 (of 64 neigborhoods) of the most obese neighborhoods with an obesity rate of 31.7% compared to Summit County which comes in at 11.51%. With all that fat that needs to be burned off, wouldn't it make sense that we would need a bigger facility? The massive Sorensen Center on the other hand serves the 13th most fit community in Herriman, Bluffdale, & Riverton.

Alas, that's not how our politicians understood the equation, for they are the ones that determined the spending budget from funds collected from the ZAP tax (Zoo Arts & Parks). They ultimately determined the size and scope of our new facility. All is not lost however, the efficiency of our new rec center is still being assessed. A lot more could be done in terms of offering classes more frequently. For example, spin classes are only taught a couple times a week and usually around 8 or 9 in the morning. Who can do that? Most folks are at work during that time. I'd like to open up our comments section to this story on what experiences you've had, good or bad, and what you'd like to see change. We'll be more than happy to pass the information on to the folks at the Rec Center in hopes that they might accommodate a few of our requests.


  1. Last month they held a Zumba master class in the Gym and it was full both courts. I think that for Zumba they need to hold class down stairs.

    Also as the weather gets better do more stuff outside.

    One thing that bothers me is there is no path leading to the Jordan River Trail.

  2. I agree about the trail. With its proximity you'd of thought that would have been a natural fit. Good point Tah.

  3. When I heard the news of this facility coming to our neighborhood I was really excited, however after finding out the spin classes wouldn't be offered early in the AM (5 or 6 am) and that they closed early (don't remember the exact time, just wasn't late enough) I was a bit turned off. I have been over a few times, no membership yet, but plan on getting one soon. Great facility, wish it had better hours for spin classes, stayed open later for "night excercisers" like me, had a hot tub, outdoor pool for the kids would have been sweet.

  4. OFF TOPIC-- This year two of our children swam on the West High swim team. Prior to this year West had to swim at the Sorensen Center/Steiner West pool. We are so appreciative of a new pool, with seating for parents. Travel time has been greatly reduced and the high school coaching staff created a much more cohesive team.

    We are hoping that the recreational program at Northwest will grow and build a stronger high school team.

    1. With Race Swami --the usa swimming outreach club - serving local youth, West will have great teams for years to come

  5. I'd love to see an early morning zumba class added during the week. Like 530am or 6am ;)

  6. I wouldn't criticize much about the facility. Its been fantastic for my family since it opened. The kid zone makes it so nice for families, and for the size of it there is lots of function. More zoomba and kickboxing classes would be justified though. One thing I can think of though is that I've found I'm one of the very few guys that will attend classes when I go. I dunno if its reluctance from guys or the type of class offerings or perhaps that the instructors are all female.