After decades of discussing the addition of a recreation center with youth/teen elements to our community, we finally have the opportunity to vote to add this amenity to our community.
Almost 30 years ago, there was dialogue of a recreational facility downtown at Howelsen Hill. In the mid-'90s, surveys were done polling citizens of Steamboat as to what the city was lacking and how their performance was on existing services. One of the fundamental issues raised was an indoor, multi-use facility. In the list of action items in which this appeared, this remains one of a couple not yet met. Three other surveys in the past 10 years have reaffirmed this still lacking.
This is an expensive initiative. Typically, whenever financing is acquired with current interest rates as they are, payment is usually double the initial cost if repaid during the full course of the loan, whether a library, a school or even your home. Remember, this is a specific tax and won't divert spending from other community services as some would have you believe.
Here are some reasons to vote yes on a community recreation center:
- All homeowners, primary and secondary, within city limits will be contributing.
- As more homes are built and/or annexed into Steamboat's city limits, the cost for each homeowner should go down.
- There is an actual cap to the mill levy that can be imposed. For a $500,000 home, the tax implication per year is estimated at $13.75 per month, or $165 a year.
- The current consultants have built 16 recreation centers in the past six years. Three were over budget, with the most by 6.7 percent, four were at budget, and nine were under budget, with one by 21.4 percent.
- The current proposal has been padded by almost 30 percent to stop-gap potentially going over budget on this project, with the goal of coming in under budget.
- Every year that we procrastinate, the price will go up. We can pay some now, or a lot more later.
- While Old Town Hot Springs provides a much loved and used service, it falls short on providing adequate, indoor facilities. At the current growth rate, it will just fall further behind.
- Painstaking efforts have been made in more than two years of meetings and mediation, to work with Old Town Hot Springs to try not to duplicate their current services.
- This proposed public facility allows users of all ages access to amenities.
- The proposed amenities include: a youth area for after-school and summer programs; a teen center; public meeting and party rooms; a fitness center with adult and youth equipment; an indoor playground; two multi-activity gyms; a walking/jogging track; outdoor artificial and natural grass fields, both lighted; a six-lane lap pool with multi-generational, year-round use; a warm leisure pool with zero-depth entry; a lazy river; a multi-use diving well; and a skate park.
Having the option of recreating indoors as well as outdoors provides greater choices for recreation in the community. Although almost all of us live here for the outdoors, this proposed facility provides much needed and past due options for fulfilling our recreational needs.
While we respect the healthy dialogue going on in our community about this hot topic, and appreciate everyone's hard work and input from both sides of the fence, I hope you will vote yes for our community's healthy future and approve 2B and 2C on the upcoming ballot.