Councilman John Rush figures there's more than one way to help fund a new $10 million community recreation and wellness center in Murray City Park - just as long as those ways don't involve increasing the burden on local taxpayers.
So he envisions the new recreation center displaying something you usually see only on the facades of large sporting and special events arenas: the name of a well-heeled corporate sponsor.More importantly, Rush wants a sponsor willing to shell out enough money to have its name enshrined on a building that will serve the recreation needs of an entire city, not just sports enthusiasts and concert-goers.
Rush, who ran the idea past City Council members last month, got the green light to test the corporate sponsorship waters with Intermountain Health Care officials.
IHC tentatively plans to construct a massive new medical center on the old smelter site in downtown Murray after the property undergoes an extensive environmental cleanup.
But when Rush suggested IHC might consider helping fund construction of the center in exchange for memorialization rights, the idea was politely rejected in a letter from IHC officials.
"It was a gracious letter," he said, "but firm."
The councilman said he's not discouraged, however, and added he intends to seek corporate sponsorship elsewhere.
"We can't build the center at this point because the city doesn't have the money," said Rush. "Our mission is to get it built, but with the help of private money."
The councilman said he thinks the current private sector business climate is favorable toward requests for corporate support.
"We would have tremendous leverage," Rush said, because the proposed location of the center in Murray City Park is "right across the street from what will be a world-class medical complex and retail development."
However, he also said he would like to find a corporate sponsor with whom "IHC can live, just across the street."