Saltair Prepares to Make a Comeback

Saltair Prepares to Make a Comeback

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Jed Boal ReportingFor more than 100 years, the Saltair resort has ebbed and flowed like the Great Salt Lake itself. But recently visitors have complained the old resort is run down. The owner believes he can turn it around.

Regardless of what you may think of the Great Salt Lake, tourists from around the world find it fascinating. When they visit Saltair some are disappointed and the owner wants to change that.

The Saltair of 2003 is not the attraction it was at the turn of the century when vacationers flocked there for a spa experience. Fire twice destroyed Saltair and the modern building has been plagued by a string of bad luck. A gift shop burned in June, an old train car damaged the sewer system, and the exhibits are gone. Tour guide Buddy Peterson says visitors are not impressed.

Buddy Peterson, Tour Guide: “The first response from these people right here is, this place sure is ran down."

The Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau recently told the owner to take care of the problems.

Jason Mathis, Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau: “We want everyone who comes to our community to have a great time when they go to Saltair we want them to have a good experience."

The owner says he does too. He's cleaned up the gift shop, fixed the sewer, and plans to donate the old train cars.

David Wolfson, Owner, The Great Saltair: “There's all kinds of uses. It's a huge piece of property, and really a landmark for the state."

Playing in the water was always the biggest attraction. People would come from miles around to float out in the very bouyant salt water. But the biggest problem the resort faces right now is the lack of water. Five years ago the lake was lapping at the back of the building. Now it's a quarter mile to get to the end of the beach.

Now the owner is booking concerts, maybe corporate parties, and wants to develop historic exhibits. Tourism at Saltair is down 50-percent this year, but there are 11 concerts booked for the next six months.

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