The Lehi Legacy Center started 2020 with a calendar full of fitness classes, youth sports programs, birthday parties and events. In late January, the Health and Wellness Fair was as popular as it is every year with people renewing their annual passes at a discount. All that activity came to a full stop on Friday, Mar. 13, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.
“We thought we’d be closed for a couple of weeks. At first all the employees were cleaning and sanitizing all the city buildings just to keep working and getting a paycheck. You can only clean a building that isn’t being used so much,” recalled Camille Purtschert, Assistant Program Coordinator for the Legacy Center.
Birthday parties, entire sports seasons, and annual events were canceled or postponed during the Legacy Center’s three-month closure. “People were very understanding, but it was still so disappointing,” said Purtschert.
In mid-June, Lehi City’s recreation league baseball began their season at Veterans Ballpark with a limit of four spectators per player. Teams weren’t allowed in the dugout together, but they could sit in the stands to await their turn at bat. Families set up camp chairs in the outfield, cheering for their children when they saw the number on their jersey since they couldn’t see faces. Everyone was happy to be doing something that felt normal after three months of quarantine.
The Legacy Center opened its doors again in June, but with new restrictions in place. Patrons now need a reservation to attend a class, swim laps, or use the cardio and weight rooms. Some who aren’t tech-savvy or who don’t use a smartphone were discouraged enough by the changes that they stopped coming. The American Fork Recreation Center doesn’t require reservations, which has lured some Legacy Center patrons away. “We were ready to take reservations or not and the City opted to be as cautious as possible with the reservation system. Everything is open. Some classes have a cap, but we very rarely have to turn anyone away. We’ve moved cardio machines into the mezzanine so people can work out and be socially distanced. People who want to play can play,” explained Abby Havea, Assistant Recreation Director for Lehi City.
“Lehi might be a little more cautious than other places, but we want to keep people safe. If you aren’t computer savvy or you don’t have a smartphone, call the front desk and they can do everything for you,” added Purtschert.
Popular fitness classes have been moved from the small room on the second floor to the gyms where patrons can be at least six feet away from each other. Patrons are encouraged to wear masks, but they are not mandated. A member of the Legacy Center staff takes the temperature of each person who comes in the door. “We lost a handful of patrons with passes during the shutdown, but people have come back because they’re invested in the instructors and coming here makes them more accountable. We have lots of parents who work out while their child is in a class, too,” said Havea. “The lap swimmers really like the reservation system – it’s great for them to know they’ll have a lane when they get here so early in the morning.”
“We’re really listening to our patrons. We love getting feedback and suggestions,” said Havea.
Purtschert and the rest of the program staff have spent much of their time re-scheduling events and fitting in months of activities into just a few weeks. The Safety on Wheels Fair was moved from Spring to this Saturday, September 12, but registration numbers have been low and Purtschert is worried about having to cancel the usually popular event. “It would be such a shame to cancel when we’ve got so many great sponsors coming and fun activities and swag for the kids,” said Purtschert. Robert J. DeBry & Associates as well as Craig Swapp & Associates have each donated $500 and 50 helmets for the fair. Nurses from Utah Valley University will be on hand to fit helmets and teach a little first aid. Lehi firefighters and police are bringing their trikes for races. The Safety on Wheels Fair will be in the northwest parking lot at the Legacy Center Saturday from 10-12 a.m.
The Legacy Center has replaced the popular Scrapbooking Sleepover event with the new BUNCO Night on Friday, Nov. 6. Chick-fil-A is sponsoring the event and providing refreshments. The first Youth Entrepreneur Market at the Legacy Center will be on Saturday, Nov. 7. Kids age eight to 15 can have a small booth to sell their goods in the gym. Registration for all these programs is on the Legacy Center’s website, lehi-ut.gov/legacy-center or call 385-201-2000.
“I feel like we’re streamlined and adjusted now. Our staff is really good about helping people,” said Purtschert.
“It’s so good for our mental health to exercise right now – especially for kids. As long as we can manage it, we encourage fun,” added Havea.