Once there was a delicious soup. It was created with homemade recipes, and people loved it. They loved it so much that a big factory was built to make more of it. As people ate more and more soup, the factory tried to keep up with the demand. Finally, Bear Creek Country Kitchens moved the soup production elsewhere.
What would happen to the enormous soup factory that had housed the facilities? According to Amaria Scovil, Director of Wasatch County’s Joyce & M. Anthony Burns Recreation Center, “When they decided to sell the soup business, it was sold to an organization back East, and of course, they couldn’t move the building. So, everything inside went.”
Located in the small town of Heber City, Utah, the factory sat vacant for about four years. Until someone had the brilliant idea to retrofit the vast space into a recreation center.
It would be unique and would turn the old soup factory into a factory for physical fitness.
The Wasatch County Recreation Center was officially opened in 2010. Additional offices and a private gym called, The Fit Stop was added to the building. The new recreation center was still housed in the original soup factory. Scovil shared, “I was with the department before we had a rec center. Being able to offer the variety of programming and open play to the community, since we’ve had this facility, is an incredible difference.” Scovil continued, “It’s not just athletics or sports. It’s a lot of enrichment activities too, so there’s something for everyone. And I know that sounds a little cliché, but I think it’s important for everybody to feel like they can participate in something and learn something new and do something different. Especially in today’s day and age where it’s easy just to get sucked into the electronics and not look beyond your little phone.”
A Unique Taste
The Recreation Center offers a host of innovative and distinctive opportunities.
The most noticeable are the three huge turf fields! These fields provide endless possibilities. “There are 12’ soccer goals on the fields, but the fields can also be used for non-tackle football, golf, or any number of other activities,” according to the website. Some people even use them during the frozen winters to let kids run around in the park-like atmosphere. “We do see a lot of soccer [on the fields],” explained Scovil, “but kids also come practice lacrosse or rugby, or they throw frisbees. A lot of Spikeball has become popular. There are plenty of other things as well.”
And there is so much more! A .2 mile track surrounds the turf for those who want a place to run or walk indoors. In addition, there are six full-size basketball/volleyball courts. These courts also provide a place for pickleball, dodgeball, futsal, and many other activities. Additionally, there are three batting cages next to four full-size racquetball courts. The courts can also be used for wallyball or handball.
On top of everything else, there are three full-size tennis courts, gymnastics equipment, two large classrooms, a party room, a putting green, and two state-of-the-art golf simulators! “It’s an amazing program,” said Scovil. “The screen is huge, and it has the sounds of birds and everything, and it makes you feel like you’re there. You have 150 courses to choose from that are actual courses in the world.” Equipment for most activities is available to rent as well, for a small additional fee. The recreation center also has a contracted tennis pro who runs lessons from September through May for adults and youth.
Adding Some Extra Spice
“Gymnastics runs throughout the year,” said Scovil. “We run it in sessions, so it’s not a huge commitment for anybody. It’s more designed to be an introductory program. We do have different levels, but we run it on a 4-week basis.” The rec center provides all the gymnastics apparatus, except the special floors used in routines.
This year, the rec center held two gymnastics meets. “It was amazing,” according to Scovil. “[The] gymnastics meets were not a part of our program, but they were part of a larger program in Utah. And it was incredible to see the talent that we have here. It was so fun to have the event here, and it brought a lot of revenue to the community and us.”
Another fun activity provided at the center is Toddler Time. “Toddler time is something we offer Monday through Friday from 10:00 am until noon, only on the days that school is in, just so that we don’t get a lot of bigger kids running around with toddlers,” explained Scovil. “We let the toddlers bring in their bicycles or their scooters or whatever toys they want to bring in. And then we have some toys too, so a mom and all of her kids can get in for just $4 and play.”
Heber Valley resident Rachel Bolos enjoys walking the track at the rec center while her baby sleeps in the stroller. “It’s fun, it’s open, it’s clean, and everyone here is always nice,” said Bolos. “My older kids come and play sports here. They love it. There needs to be somewhere for families to go to just have fun.”
There are many opportunities here for kids to be kids and play. The Wasatch County Recreation Center also provides sports teams and other activities. “I think kids need athletics that they can just enjoy, that isn’t super competitive, and that they can just have fun,” explained Scovil.
Amaria Scovil wants to encourage the community to take advantage of this incredible factory, where body, mind, and soul are amply fed.
“Come play!” she welcomes. “It’s an amazing place; winter, spring, summer, and fall. I know a lot of people like to be outside in the summer, but it stays cool in here, and it’s sometimes nice to get out from under the sun and play. It’s great. We love to have people here!”
The people love to be here too. And the production of soup for the soul continues.
345 W 600 S, #500, Heber