OGDEN, UTAH (ABC4 News) – In Ogden, the only city recreation center is closed because of the pandemic, but residents feel planning for the future of the building has been put on the back burner.
The community is asking for support to maintain the Marshall White Recreation center in Ogden. The city says planning for the future of this historic building is right around the corner.
The Marshall White Recreation Center, named after a black fallen detective, has been here for 50 years.
“I believe it’s the first building in the state of Utah, named after a black Utahn,” said Taylor Knuth, the Chair for the Ogden Diversity Commission.
Locals say it’s a staple in the neighborhood that’s provided resources and amenities to the community.
“I’ve worked here for 21 years, I’ve been retired for about 7/8 years, but I’ve seen the community gravitate toward Marshall White,” said Gerard Sawyer, the former director of the facility.
“There are low-income housing projects all around here,” said Betty Sawyer, President of the Ogden NAACP.
Betty Sawyer has concerns about the maintenance of the facility because a new advisory board is in the works.
“Priority is that they are a representative of our current, past and future leaders of our community and residents of our community so we get a good mix, my concern is that we don’t make this political, but we make it productive,” said Betty.
It has taken over two months to get the board finalized, but city leaders say in a couple of weeks, names will be handed to the mayor.
“We want to be thorough and make sure we’re representative of the whole community,” said Ed Bridge, the Ogden Recreation Manager.
Locals say they want the facility to stay on 28th street with upgrades.
“Marshall White Center is that place for people to be able to come and get some of those needs met, but we know it has to be bigger, better, brighter,” said Betty.
City leaders say the biggest expense is the pool, it’s been closed for two years. Fixing it would cost over $3 million.
“Now we’re in the process of doing a redesign of the building and we’re about to engage in an extensive community outreach,” said Bridge.
“We need to be brought up to the same level of any other recreational facility that the city owns,” said Gerard.
“This is not a one and done facility, it was never created to be self-sufficient because it was targeting low income and marginalized people,” said Betty.
City leaders say by September they will be asking for the community’s input for the final stages of the rec center.