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Can Our Governments Please…Please…Please… Just Work Together?

Yesterday morning on KPCW, Basin Recreation’s Rena Jordan was on with KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher. Ms. Jordan was giving an update on various topics but the one that caught my attention was about Basin Rec building a fieldhouse on 17 acres of land near the new Silver Creek Village (by Home Depot).

You see, the school district also seems to want an indoor fieldhouse on its Kearns campus. It reminds me of the line from the movie Contact: “The first rule in government spending is ‘why have one when you can have two at twice the price’.”

Here is the exchange:

Leslie Thatcher: And you’d use this parcel of land [17 acres near Silver Creek Village) for indoor recreation?

Rena Jordan: That’s what we have identified this parcel for. We haven’t determine the specifics. There are 3 top priorities that the community and our needs assessment identified, which are an aquatic facility, a second sheet of ice, and mostly our focus would be on indoor recreation space. We have on indoor field in town and we’re going to follow the master plan of the school district to see what parses out of that process because there is still plenty of need…

Leslie Thatcher: So Something similar to what we have with the [Kimball Junction Basin Rec] fieldhouse?

Rena Jordan: Something similar but hopefully bigger. The current field house sits on 2.8 acres and this is 17.3 acres of land. So you can imagine we have the opportunity to build something more expansive but we won’t use all of that 17 acres.

To be fair, Ms. Jordan did say she was watching what was happening with the School Master Planning Committee, with regard to building a fieldhouse. It’s also true that Ms. Jordan has attended at least one of the master planning committee meetings. So, I don’t really put this on her and Basin Rec.

What it highlights is one of the fundamental issues that is plaguing the school’s Master Planning Committee. There seems to be such a rush to get to a bond, that a well thought out process isn’t being used. It’s true the committee has been meeting for over 9 months but this type of decision making often takes two to three years.

It seems to me that the school’s Master Planning Committee should simply decide if the school district has a need for a fieldhouse, community center, tennis courts, soccer fields, etc. Then they should go to the appropriate agency and work with them to put the optimal thing in the optimal place. In the case of the fieldhouse, maybe the school district decides they really have a need for one. They could then work with Basin Rec to decide whether a small fieldhouse in town or an expansive one in Silver Creek makes more sense.

Instead what we may get is a small fieldhouse, crammed on to Kearns, that only works for the school and a big fieldhouse for the community in a more centrally located area. Oh, and the community will likely have to pay for both through bonds.

Please school district… just slow down and include others in some of these decisions. If it takes three years that’s OK. Let’s just do it right.



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