Dialogue Before Decision: Statewide solutions

Recreation centers in other Colorado towns, cities

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— The 2006-07 class of Leadership Steamboat presents its community forum Dialogue Before Decision. This forum is designed to encourage engaged and informed decision makers by connecting our community to information and purposeful dialogue on issues vital to the future of the valley. Dialogue Before Decision wants to hear from you. What do you want to know about the Community Recreation Center issue? Please submit you questions, comments and ideas to dialoguebeforedecision@hotmail.com.

Steamboat Springs is not the first town in Colorado to look at whether it needed or could fund a recreation center. Leadership Steamboat chose three different mountain communities and took an in-depth look at the recreation centers those communities built. Information was gathered from key personnel at each of the centers.

Gypsum Recreation Center

Gypsum

- Cost of Construction: $12.2 million

- Year Built: 2006

- Size: 57,000 square feet

- Population of town: 4,964 according to www.census.gov

- How construction was funded: 1 percent sales tax increase and an increase in mill levy

- Most Popular Amenities: A 26-foot climbing wall and lazy river are great for holding birthday parties in correlation with the two birthday party rooms they have. These always are completely booked up. The gymnastics center also is a very popular amenity.

- Other Existing Recreation Facilities in the Area: pool, ice arena, softball/baseball fields, skate park, soccer fields, play grounds and turf field.

- Future Plans: The town of Gypsum is planning on adding a splash park.

- Owner of the Recreation Center: Town of Gypsum

- Manager of the Recreation Center: The Western Eagle Cou-nty Metropolitan Recreation District. The district's boundaries encompass an estimated area of 840 square miles in Eagle County, including the communities of Eagle, Edwards, Gypsum, Bond, McCoy, Cordillera, Lake Creek and Wolcott.

- Annual Membership Costs: Adult, $450; Family $750 (other memberships available for youth, seniors and couples)

- For more info on this facility, visit: www.wecmrd.org/GRC.htm

Breckenridge Recreation Center

Breckenridge

- Cost of Construction: $7.1 million

- Year Built: 1991

- Size: 62,000 square feet

- Population of town: 2,680 according to www.census.gov

- How construction was funded: Breckenridge used money from the city's general application fund, which is funded by sales tax. The sales tax percentage was not raised for this project.

- Most Popular Amenities: The two tennis courts, the climbing wall and the special family changing rooms are highlights of this facility. The circuit training and weight room also are well used.

- Other Existing Recreation Facilities in the Area: Ski area, ice arena and a Nordic center.

- Future Plans: Breckenridge added 7,000 square feet onto the building in 1996 and is currently working on another addition.

- Owner and Manager of the Recreation Center: Town of Breckenridge

- Annual Membership Costs: Adult, $367; Family, $817 (other memberships available for youth, seniors and couples)

- For more information on this facility, visit: www.townofbreckenridge.com

Durango Recreation Center

Durango

- Cost of Construction: $15.5 million

- Year Built: 2002

- Size: 71,557 square feet

- Population of town: 15,501 according to www.census.gov

- How construction was funded: The city used a half-cent sales/use tax, which will conclude in 20 years to build its recreation center. Tax revenues greater than the amount required to pay the annual debt are used for the operations and maintenance of the community center and upgrades to other existing recreation facilities.

- Most Popular Amenities: Cathy Metz, director of Parks and Recreation in Durango stated the 30-foot high climbing wall, indoor track and the 21,493-square-foot aquatics area with lap pool, leisure pool and hot tub are just a few of the popular features.

- Other Existing Recreation Facilities in the Area: Ice rink, ski area, small ski area (similar to Howelsen Hill), 9,000-square-foot community center, river walk/trail system.

- Future Plans: Durango currently is discussing future expansion due to heavy usage (350,000 paid admissions in 2006), current population grow-th and future growth predictions.

- Owner and Manager of the Recreation Center: City of Durango, Parks and Recreation Department.

- Annual Membership Costs: Adult, $300; Family, $500 (other memberships available for youth, seniors and couples)

- For more information on this facility, visit: www.durangogov.org/resident/parks_leisure/reccenter.html

Next week, Dialogue Before Decision will look at some of the funding options and concerns related to building and operating a recreation center.

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