Mountain Recreation begins outreach efforts for growth challenge eyed for November ballots

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This rendering by Mountain Recreation shows proposed improvements to Edwards Field House that are being planned as part of a major capital project the district is considering for the November election.
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For the past few years, Mountain Recreation has been busy asking residents what they want from major upgrades to their facilities at Eagle, Gypsum, and Edwards.

Now the folks at Mountain Recreation are ready to share what they heard and what these plans will cost. This summer, district officials will reach voters in places where they will gather to share information and lay the groundwork for an election question in November 2021.

This promotion is called All Access Rec, and the work started this month with a direct broadcast to Mountain Recreation voters and an announcement on the district’s website.

“It’s just about time,” said Mike McCormack, a member of the Mountain Recreation board of directors. “We are struggling to meet everyone’s needs now, and while there is a pain point in spending money on anything, we believe it won’t get any cheaper in the future.”

The contemplated demand is huge – $ 80 million. McCormack noted, however, that the district is also working on public-private partnerships and other funding opportunities to bring that down to $ 60 million.

In addition to these efforts to cut aggregate demand, McCormack said Mountain Recreation plans to release its track record on conservative spending. The district – formerly known as the Western Eagle County’s Metropolitan Recreation District – is currently debt free after early payment of previous construction costs for the facility.

“The story strongly supports the fact that the district does not spend money lightly,” McCormack said. “We eke every bit of life out of our facilities and are at the point where they just show their age.”

The youngest Mountain Recreation facility – Edwards Field House – opened in 2009. The Gypsum Recreation Center opened in 2006 and the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink opened in 2003.

COVID-19

If the idea of ​​a big poll issue from Mountain Recreation sounds familiar, it’s because it has been in the planning stages for more than a year. Then COVID-19 arrived.

“We wanted to reach out to voters during last year’s presidential election, but with all of this in mind, it seemed a deaf time to go public for extra funding,” said McCormack.

But with the valley reopening after months of pandemic restrictions, participation in Mountain Recreation has seen a boom.

“All Mountain Rec programs and activities are running at full capacity,” said the district’s announcement released this week. “Mountain Rec is committed to resuming proactive planning to ensure the health, wellbeing, and economic vigor of our community. At the direction of the Mountain Rec board of directors, our community and employees have been directed to dream big, dream big, as the county embarks on a major capital improvement project – All Access Rec. ”

“Our services are just as anchored in the history of our valley as our facilities. Countless children have learned to swim with us, swung their first club or kicked their first football, ”said Janet Bartnik, Managing Director of Mountain Recreation. “Today we face a major challenge: Due to our aging facilities and our under-sized facilities, which were only built for half of today’s population, we cannot serve many members of the community. We need to improve access to support our thriving community and the only way to do that is to build today for a healthy tomorrow. “

McCormack said that in planning for the future, the Gypsum Recreation Center is a great model for Mountain Recreation to emulate.

As this rendering shows, Mountain Recreation envisions a major expansion on the second floor for the popular Gypsum Recreation Center
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“This facility is much larger than a ward this size would normally have (in 2006),” he noted. But with financial support from the city of Gypsum, the facilities were expanded and for 15 years the facility has been a community center for the city’s up-and-coming population.

“The Gypsum Recreation Center has enriched life in this community,” said McCormack.

Major renovations are planned for Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum for the proposed capital program. Mountain Recreation said all three locations would have equivalent facilities such as fitness centers, class studios, gyms, athletic fields, locker rooms and common areas for behavioral health programs. The plan provides for the introduction of a district-wide facility pass so that guests can visit all the sights in the valley.

Asked and answered

Mountain Recreation began polling its constituents three years ago, and from this data the district developed its capital program for “today, tomorrow and for the next 40 years”.

“Top amenities requested by our community included a new fitness center and classroom in Edwards, a new larger outdoor pool, improvements to the trailhead and a new fitness center in Eagle, and a new two-story fitness center and gym in plaster of paris,” says the announcement from Mountain Recreation.

The indoor rendering for the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink shows a new, large gym that would have various uses such as basketball, volleyball, pickleball, and an indoor walking path.
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A voting question in November 2021 in support of the All Access Rec Capital program would seek an increase in property tax to fund the improvements.

“This project is estimated to be about $ 47 per year per $ 100,000 of house value in the district based on market conditions in the spring of 2021,” said Mountain Recreation’s announcement. “The last time the county took such a step was almost 20 years ago and Mountain Rec paid its last debt 10 years early.”

Get the word out

When the board members of Mountain Recreation reviewed the results of their survey efforts, they found they had a lot to explain.

“In the first round of the survey, 50% of those questioned had not yet heard of our plans. We certainly have an awareness campaign ahead of us, ”said McCormack. “We cannot advertise, we can only educate and that is an exact description of what we are up to.”

Mountain Recreation’s board of directors and staff are planning public relations at major Downvalley community events this summer, including ShowDown Town in Eagle on Thursday July 1st, Gypsum Daze in Gypsum on Saturday July 17th, and the Outdoor Movie Series in Edwards on Thursday, August 12th In addition, more than 30 Q&A events with Mountain Recreation employees are planned for this summer.

The feedback from these efforts will determine how the election proceeds, McCormack said. “Our feeling is that the community is pretty excited,” he said. “People have a price objection that we get. We’re trying to lower this price. “

In the end, McCormack said the project proposal reflects how the Mountain Recreation team has taken the responsibility to provide programs and facilities to promote the health and wellbeing of the community.

“We need to keep making things affordable and accessible. We like what this plan is doing to achieve these goals, ”McCormack concluded.

Visit AllAccessRec.org or AllAccessRec.es in Spanish to view building renders, see a full list of new amenities, learn about the cost to the district’s taxpayers, email for updates on capital improvement, and Send feedback.

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