David W. Bishop, M.D.: Rec center satisfies

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— While speaking with my son, Tim Bishop (principal of Steamboat Springs Middle School), I was informed that Steamboat Springs is considering the building of a recreation center. Durango now has a recreation center that required bringing it to the voters on two occasions. The second vote narrowly passed, but the resulting Community Recreation Center has been of great benefit to our area. The center was opposed by various private gyms and training centers, but ultimately no mortal damage was caused. Many of the people now using the recreation center did not have memberships in these private gyms anyway. What has been surprising is the use of the center by senior citizens. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon finds many seniors using the indoor walking/running track and the various exercise machines The recreational pool and current pool are also very popular with the seniors. The lap pool is used all day by many people. The Masters Swimming program practices four times per week in the early morning and two times in the late afternoon. There are probably nearly 40 adults registered in this program. The Durango age group swimming teams use the pool for training and for multi-team swimming meets. Swimming lessons and other programs are provided throughout the year.

The recreation center has both a "Kid's Club" six days a week and child care. The gym is used by young and old alike with volleyball, basketball, police academy training and more, as well as a great deal of open time for youths and adults. After school, the gym becomes quite busy.

The exercise studio is filled each day from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with a multitude of classes too numerous to list here. The spinning classes in the winter are so popular that people arrive 30 minutes early to get a bike.

One aspect of a recreation center that did not occur to me during planning was to include meeting rooms. These rooms have really filled a need of the community. One day I counted 12 different organizations using the rooms. From a Rotary Club to a chess club to celebration of birthdays, etc. Again, I will not list all the uses, but the access to these meeting rooms has meant a great deal to the people in the city. A special hallway has been devoted to exhibition of works of art by local artists. The artist is given ample wall space for one month and no month goes by that these walls are not used.

The Community Recreation Center is a huge source of pride to the area and is one of those places that we take our guests to see during their visits. I am sure that Steamboat Springs would find the same satisfaction with a recreation center as Durango has found.

David W. Bishop, M.D.

Durango

Comments

honestythebestpolicy 7 years, 1 month ago

Sounds Great. Gather up the "Private funds have been raised, in over six figures" that "BoulderGrad" boasts about (See posted comments on Michelle Lichtenfels: Support rec center) and the Letter of Intent for financial backing from Intrawest that we were told existed from a CCRC member. Fully disclose those monies honestly and then ask the taxpayers to fill in if needed. Even the Tennis Center was partially funded privately.

It is simply a huge missed opportunity not to come to the table with some dollars $$$ and financial backing that solidifies the need/want from the community before asking the taxpayers.

This rec center will be realized by other financial means if this ballot initiative fails that will include private funding as it should and needs to even to 100%.

Nothing will be lost by voting NO now, but do get to the polls because the yes's will certainly be doing that in mass so they don't have to do any more work (like us regular stiffs?) and can just get to the "fun" on everyone elses dime. VOTE NOW AND VOTE NO!

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Books 7 years, 1 month ago

Honestythebestpolicy,

If we do it your way, then you and I, one way or another, end up picking up nearly all of the cost of this project. The money that you want to tap into would not be available for other worthy projects. The projects that we can't flip on to the 2nd homeowners.

Right now the 2nd homeowners are getting a free ride. They only pay sales tax during their 2-week stay. You and I with our sales tax, provide roads, trails, police, fire, emergency services, snowplowing,,,, the rest of the year to them for free.

2nd homeowners make up about 47% of today's RE valuation. There are about 25 high dollar projects under construction right now, that will be coming onto the tax rolls in the next few years. Aprox. 80% of these are 2nd homes. The assessor's office told me that Steamboat's current total valuation today is $644 million. Trappeur's Crossing alone will increase valuations by 85 Million. That's just one project. There are 24 more coming in.

The 2nd homeowner valuation ratio will jump quite a bit higher in the next few years. And still, you and I will be giving 60% to 70% of the owners of this town, a free ride. Remember, they don't get to vote, you and I do.

Also, if anyone thinks that OTHP is over crowded now, just wait!

It's the 2nd homeowners and their guests (renters) who are causing the over crowding problem at the OTHP. They are the ones that are creating the need for another rec center. They drive the locals out of the place. If it were just us full timers, the OTHP would be plenty. We need more facilities, it's the 2nd homeowners and guests, that are creating the problem, let's let them help pay for it. This is the best way to do it.

Think about it, then vote on YES 2B & 2C.

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another_local 7 years, 1 month ago

Books, you are wide of the mark. Second home owners pay about 15% of the property taxes around here because commercial property pays the lion share. Proportionaly, second home owners pay a lot more sales tax than the average local for the time they are here. If the second home is occupied for a good portion of the season, it generates more sales tax than the typical local and uses less public services. Vacation propertiees also employ a lot of people for service work through taking care of the property.

The group you are loading with taxes are your neighbors who own small busineses and employ most of the people in this town.

The people who are not going to be paying a fair share are the people who will use the facility.

If you want to spread out the cost in a more fair and equitable manner,

  1. Raise some private money.

  2. Make this a county issue or establish a rec district that includes the residential areas within a few miles of town like Strawberry Park, Dakota Ridge, Storm Mountain Ranch, Country Green and Maribou.

  3. Raise the costs of membership so that users pay a fair share and thing at least pays for itself once it is open.

As it is planned right now, the city residents are being asked to pay to build it and then again to run it at a loss for the benefit of the users.

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Books 7 years, 1 month ago

Another Sorry I should have been more specific about residential vs commercial and about homes vs. valuation. I should have said, 2nd homeowners make up about 46% of today's residential RE. The cost numbers being used by the rec center people for comparison are based on a family of 4 in a 500k house. I was trying to illustrate how large the impact on residential valuation will be when all of these new projects, most of which are 2nd homeowner, come on board.

I was quoting: Northwest Council of Governments 2006 Transitions in Mountain Communities Executive Summary

"46% of homes in Steamboat Springs are owned by second homeowners."

http://www.nwc.cog.co.us/Second%20Home%20Study/second_home_study.htm

I believe their survey was based on 2005 numbers.

I might be off on my 60% to 70% 2nd homeowner prediction but not much. If we were at 46% two years ago, the new projects coming in will jump that number quite a bit higher. There is a lot going on right now, most of it is 2nd home. The good news is that the rec center tax will go lower and lower every year.

2nd homeowners who don't rent their units only pay sales tax when they are here. Many don't rent. Why don't they rent? They don't need to. Of the ones that do rent, not all have high occupancy rates. This is a fast growing segment that enjoys the benefits of our town for nearly free. The 2nd homeowners are the ones that are creating the need for another rec center. Let's let them help pay for it.

Vote on YES 2B & 2C.

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another_local 7 years, 1 month ago

No thanks on the rec center. You are just looking for someone else to pay for your amenities. The people who should pay for the center are the PEOPLE THAT USE IT.

The second home owners are getting nothing for free. They paid a lot to be here. They pay plenty when they are here. Perhaps they only pay sales taxes a couple of weeks a year, but if that is the case, they are also only enjoying the benefits for a couple of weeks. Seems fair to me.

In the mean time, even though they don't use them much, they help pay for the schools, the library, the water and sewer and beyond that they employ us.

This issue is not about second home owners, it is about a small group of locals that feel entitled to ask the rest of us to pay for the things they want. It is nonsense and it needs to stop.

NO on the rec center. NO on city property taxes. NO on unfair distribution of costs. If you want to make it fair, tax the county and raise the user fees. Make it self supporting or don't do it at all.

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trollunderthebridge 7 years, 1 month ago

I am not sure who you all think is paying for this or who wants it.

Second homeowners do NOT vote here, have not professed the need for a Rec. Center and have not had the luxury of signing petitions or going before City Council demanding the residents of Steamboat build this Center. Sounds more like taxation without representation.

With respect to second homeowners you should also look at the number of nights a second homeowner actually spends in Steamboat. I would venture a guess not enough for even them to justify the added property tax or membership to even use it.

As for the Sales tax generated by the few that may rent their home, please remember that for the most part these homes are vacant for a good portion of the year with no one to use the Rec Center. I would also guess that most people come to Steamboat to ski and not spend additional money to swim in a "Lazy River". And most of all remember that City Council is trying to do away (in a succinct manner) the available homes for rent in this resort town to the traveling public with the VHR Ordinance. Oh yes, those would be the ones spending money, generating sales tax and helping to support this white elephant!

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Books 7 years, 1 month ago

David W. Bishop, M.D., thanks for your letter. I have friends in Durango who have told me the same things you have just described.

another, etal. Did any of you notice the article that you posted on?

"The Recreation center was opposed by various private gyms and training centers, but ultimately no mortal damage was caused. Many of the people now using the recreation center did not have memberships in these private gyms anyway."

Sound familiar? You guys are all worried about your OTHS going under, if what happened in Durango is the same situation that we have here, then I think OTHS is safe. I am one of those people who does not have a membership. I was driven out of OTHS by the massive tourist crowds long ago.

I once had a membership at Storm Mountain's health club. Even then OTHS was too crowded. There has been a need for another rec center for many years. If it were just us full timers, the OTHS would be plenty.

It's the massive tourist crowds that are creating the problem, not the locals who are trying to solve it.

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birddog 7 years, 1 month ago

Dr. Bishop, thanks for your description of what a rec. center would be like after it is built. It would be great if Steamboat could rise to a standard that many other mountain towns enjoy.

VOTE ON YES 2B & 2C.

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