Although ravaged by fires, drenched by floods and entangled in a tax dispute, Saltair could rise again.
"The community needs Saltair," said owner Wally Wright. "People want it. They remember it. And as long as that lasts, it will stay alive."Wright and partner Jim Silver are putting together investors to once again open the resort on the south shore of Great Salt Lake.
The popular dance and party venue that attracted the nation's most popular big bands of the 1940s was on its way to popularity again in the 1980s before it was flooded by the rising waters of Great Salt Lake.
"The water is out of it now, but the floods left about 6 feet of fill material on the main floor," Wright said. "I've been going in there myself with a backhoe and moving the debris out."
If the investors come through, and everything falls into place, Wright believes he can have the pavilion open by August, when the state hopes to open a new beach at Great Salt Lake Park.
"Already, thousands of people a day are stopping at the beach," said Wright. "If we can get the beaches in shape again and the pavilion open, I think we could attract 30,000 people on a holiday weekend, like we used to."
Saltair was all but destroyed by fire in the 1920s. It was restored and became a popular site for dances and parties in the 1940s and 1950s before it was abandoned.
Wright, Silver and a handful of investors renovated the facility in the early 1980s and it was once again the site of dances and graduation parties before the floods.
In 1984, Salt Lake County went after the Saltair owners for back taxes, but that was resolved and Wright is ready for another round.