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The City Journals

Salt Lake County hands over Centennial Swimming Pool to West Valley City

Sep 08, 2020 03:09PM ● By Darrell Kirby

Centennial Outdoor Pool at Centennial Park in West Valley City is now under city ownership following a deal with Salt Lake County. (Darrell Kirby/City Journals)

By Darrell Kirby | [email protected]

Despite being a big part of West Valley City’s Centennial Park fitness and recreation complex, the outdoor swimming pool is only now under city ownership. 

Salt Lake County has turned over the pool to the West Valley City Parks and Recreation Department after running it for more than 20 years in the middle of the city-owned Centennial Park, Family Fitness Center, and surrounding ball fields. 

The change was the result of months of talks between the county and city in which each had a desire to see West Valley City own the pool. “Initially we approached Salt Lake County and said we would love to operate that pool and have it be another amenity for our fitness center members to use,” said fitness center director Jamie Young, whose facility already has an indoor pool. 

She says no money was involved in the transaction. The county essentially gave the pool to West Valley City and the city assumes all aspects and costs of running the pool, including operations, maintenance, staffing, and liability. 

The City Council approved the deal in February and it officially opened as a city pool on July 1.

Young says West Valley City Parks and Recreation can easily take on a second public pool. “We feel like we have highly qualified aquatics professionals who can manage that facility and maintain it.” That includes lifeguards and people to run the concessions booth. 

Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation spokesman Clayton Scrivner said by email that the county was happy to relinquish the outdoor pool to West Valley City. “We came to the conclusion that turning the pool over to them just made sense. With them managing the recreation center adjacent, having a single manager of both facilities was deemed the most effective and efficient path forward.”

He says the deal will enable the county to redirect resources to its other pools. “We have nine outdoor pools around the county that we manage. We also have nine indoor pools located at our recreation and aquatic centers.”

Young says city operation of the Centennial Outdoor Pool has gone swimmingly so far. “We have been really happy with the success of the pool,” she said, noting that it has reached capacity several times over the summer, although capacity under COVID-19 social distancing guidelines is half of what it is normally. 

Family Fitness Center members can use the outdoor pool at no extra cost as part of their membership this summer. Young says that will likely change in the future. The general public pays a daily admission charge to use the pool. 

The pool inside the Family Fitness Center continues to operate as usual, although it alternated its schedule with the outdoor pool for recreational swimming during the summer. The hours for both pools were reduced with the start of school in August and the resulting departure of many of their part-time employees.  

The outdoor pool will close for the season after Labor Day weekend.