EnergySolutions Bails Out Tooele County Pool

May 21, 2014

EnergySolutions already has its name on a basketball arena in Salt Lake City. Now it's putting its name on an aquatic center in Tooele. Last year, the Tooele County pool at the Deseret Peak Complex was closed due to budget shortfalls, but thanks to EnergySolutions and other corporate sponsors, it will be open this weekend.

Last year, a swimming pool was a nicety that Tooele County could not afford. That’s according to County Commissioner Shawn Milne. Shortly after coming into office, Milne learned that the county had run out of money, had depleted the rainy day fund, and would have to make serious cutbacks.

“We went in immediate savings mode, where we needed to conserve any resources that we had that would yield expenses and we began looking at the niceties versus the necessities of county level government.” Milne says.

So one the of the largest pools in the state of Utah was closed all last summer, a savings of about $200,000  dollars. Milne says citizens made it clear they were not happy with that. EnergySolutions Vice President of Communications Mark Walker says the company saw an opportunity to give back to the community where it operates its radioactive waste facility.

“We’re a big part of employment in that county,” Walker says. “If you look at EnergySolutions track record over the years, we’ve always looked for ways and opportunities to participate in the community.”

EnergySolutions is providing $35,000 a year for three years to help keep the pool open. In return, Tooele County has offered them naming rights and the opportunity to post their signs around the pool. Commissioner Shawn Milne says the county is treating this public-private partnership as an experiment.

“It will be interesting to see if local government can adapt the business model without losing the integrity of separating from elected officials…. and still be able to provide niceties for our citizens,” Milne says.

The Energy Solutions Aquatic Center opens this weekend.