By David Buer
Blue suede shoes may not be found on the marble floors of the Historic Utah County Courthouse if a new proposal prohibiting most dances is approved.
Utah County officials will make a decision in the next two weeks on the proposal, said Utah County Commissioner Jerry Grover.
Grover said the courthouse hosts four high school dances each year in addition to many other dances.
“Its not that they”ll be stopped, probably the only types of dances that we”ll be able to have there are the ones that the county sponsors,” Grover said.
In May, Provo”s new dance hall ordinance went into effect, causing county officials to consider if the courthouse complied with the new ordinance, Grover said. “All we”re trying to do is comply with the law.”
Utah County attorneys told county officials that Provo”s dance ordinance does apply to the courthouse, said Clyde Naylor, public works director for the county.
Mike Mower, Provo”s director of community and governmental relations, said he sent the county a letter saying the city”s ordinance does not apply to the courthouse if the dances are sponsored by the county or a school.
“According to our ordinance, there is nothing to prohibit dances as long as they are sponsored by a school,” Mower said.
Besides questions about the implications of Provo”s dance ordinance to the courthouse, other problems with the dances motivated county officials to make the proposal.
Many of the high school dances exceed the 450 people the building can hold, causing fire code problems, Grover said.
Damage to the building such as broken toilets and graffiti in the fire exit ways has occurred during the high school dances, said Rick Henrie, buildings manager for Utah County.
“With the damage we”ve had, we elected not to do it anymore,” Henrie said.
The county does provide security for all events held at the courthouse, but does not the have metal detectors or security cameras that are required under Provo”s new dance ordinance, Naylor said.
High schools are charged $1,400 to hold a dance at the courthouse, an increase from the previous $800 rate, Naylor said.
The higher fee is a result of the need for more security and the damage that has been done to the building, Naylor said.