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Taylorsville Journal

Outdoor summer movies prove to be a hit for a Taylorsville committee working to rise like a phoenix

Sep 13, 2018 10:27AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Taylorsville outdoor movies — with food trucks parked nearby — proved to be a summer hit. (Meredith Harker/Taylorsville City)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected] 

Of the several resident volunteer committees serving Taylorsville, it could be argued the most “fun sounding” one of the bunch might be the Parks and Recreation Committee. That group isn’t teaching us how to be safe or how to recycle or how to use a fine-tooth comb to review the city’s budget. 

“Our committee is just about having fun and doing family activities,” City Councilwoman Meredith Harker said. “So, I really can’t tell you why the committee is struggling for members — but we are.” 

Each member of the city council is given a couple of Taylorsville committees to oversee. Harker asked to assist what was then called the Leisure Activities, Recreation and Parks, or “LARP” Committee. The committee name was soon shortened to “Parks and Recreation.” But growing committee membership has proven to be more challenging. 

“Years ago, the committee’s membership was huge,” Harker said. “But now we’re lucky to get five people at our meetings.” 

Joan Thalmann has been with the committee for a dozen years and currently serves as its chairwoman. During her summer report to the Taylorsville City Council, she said the group’s membership shortage has also forced them to cancel — for at least one year — an event that debuted last year with great success. 

“We won’t be able to host the Fall Family Festival this year because we simply don’t have enough people to run it properly,” Thalmann said. “It was successful last year, but our volunteers about killed themselves putting it together, and our numbers are down since then.” 

“That was before I was on the city council, but I know they approved a $15,000 budget for the Fall Family Festival,” Harker said. “I went, and it was a hit. It might come back if we can get more volunteers to assist. I know members of the new Cultural Diversity Committee have said they would like to help with something like that. So, I’m not sure it’s gone for good.”

In the meantime, this summer the Parks and Recreation Committee breathed new life into a previous city activity that had kind of fallen on hard times.

“The city has had outdoor movies in the past, but they became pretty rare in recent years,” Harker said. “But this year, once we learned the food trucks were going to be here (parked outside city hall) on Saturday nights, we thought it was a no-brainer to bring the movies back and have them on the same night so people could buy whatever food they wanted and then watch the show.” 

The city invested in a new projector, DVD player, screen and audio speakers. Free movies “Wreck it Ralph,” “Wonder” and “Coco” were shown July 14, July 28 and Aug. 11. Overson was there to help out on opening night. 

“I think it went really well,” she said. “I would guess about 200 people came. It was great having the food trucks there. The committee had a great idea to take advantage of that. It’s an event we’ve done in the past, so I’m glad the Parks and Recreation Committee wanted to bring it back.”  

In some ways Taylorsville was simply “keeping up with the Joneses.” A Deseret News article in June listed more than 40 Utah communities offering free summer movies, including nearby Kearns, Magna, Murray, Sandy and West Jordan. Of course not all of them included free popcorn, which the committee provided to kids. 

However, despite the success of the summer movies, the Park and Recreation Committee’s lack of volunteers continues to create other challenges. The group is doing away with its Halloween and Christmas home decorating contests, primarily due to a lack of nominations. 

Also, the committee has said it can no longer tend to “Remember Me Garden,” outside the Taylorsville Senior Center. Residents had been encouraged to purchase a rose bush for the garden — in honor of a deceased loved one — along with a commemorative plaque with the person’s name.  

Council members said city crews are now caring for the garden. They are also considering relocating “Remember Me Garden” to an area outside the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center after it is constructed in two years. 

Last month, the Parks and Recreation Committee got some good news when Marsha Mauchley joined them. 

“I’ve been involved with Taylorsville activities and committees for 20 years now,” said the mother of two and grandmother of seven. “When I was a kid growing up in Draper, my Dad ‘encouraged’ me and my sisters to keep the city park across the street from our house cleaned up. So I’m used to things like that.” 

This is just the kind of help the committee wants. But members admit they still need more volunteers. To learn more about the Taylorsville Parks and Recreation Committee call Chairwoman Joan Thalmann (801-964-6538) or Councilwoman Meredith Harker (801-573-6502).


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