Rec center up to voters

City will request up to $3.4 million property tax increase

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— The construction, operation and maintenance of a $34 million recreation center at Ski Town Fields would cost Steamboat taxpayers up to $3.4 million in additional property taxes next year, according to ballot language passed by the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday.

City staff estimated the average residential property tax bill would increase in the neighborhood of $200.

The council voted, 6-0, to approve a resolution that will put the recreation center on the Nov. 6 ballot. Councilman Ken Brenner recused himself from the proceedings due to his affiliation with the Old Town Hot Springs recreation facility in downtown Steamboat Springs.

The ballot issue includes two questions. The first asks for approval of an operation and maintenance tax for the center, which would be funded by an increase in property taxes of up to $455,500 annually - for collection in 2008 - and by additional amounts annually in later years. The property tax would be imposed at a rate of up to .7 mills.

The second question concerns the actual construction of the recreation center and asks that the city be allowed to increase its debt up to $34,000,000. The repayment of that debt would be funded by a property tax increase of up to $2,965,000. The property tax would be imposed with an annual mill levy increase without limitation. City Manager Alan Lanning estimated the rate would be between 4 and 5 mills.

In discussion of the ordinance, concerns were raised about how the city would deal with potential cost overruns. The ballot issue is based on consultant estimates of cost, but no engineering or bidding of the project would occur unless voters approve it. City Attorney Tony Lettunich said that if major cost overruns occurred, the city would either have to decrease the scope of the facility or kick in some of its own funds.

As proposed, the recreation center would include youth and teen facilities, a double gymnasium, an elevated walking and running track, locker rooms, a six-lane indoor lap pool with a diving well, a warm leisure pool, artificial turf fields, an indoor playground and a fitness center.

Ballot debate begins

During public comment regarding the recreation center, Steamboat resident Bill Jameson said he found the ballot language misleading because it did not clearly state that the operation and maintenance tax would only fund a portion of those costs, while user fees would make up the rest.

"When the ballot question goes out there, it ought to be very clear," Jameson said.

The council was unwilling to amend the resolution, however, as Tuesday's meeting was its last chance to get the proposal on the ballot, which must be finalized Friday.

Shannon Lukens, a member of the group Citizens for a Community Recreation Center, said the group's attention will now turn toward preparing for the election. Mailings, yard signs and other campaign materials are on the way, Lukens said.

Despite strong indications last week that Tuesday's resolution would pass, Lukens did not take the outcome for granted and collected almost 400 signatures in support of the recreation center.

"Of course I was worried it wouldn't pass," she said.

Jameson said he doesn't give the recreation center ballot measure much of a chance at success.

"It's a lot of money for a competitive pool for a limited number of members of the swim team," Jameson said. "I just don't think the community has the appetite to fund a $34 million rec center."

Preservation questions

Also Tuesday night, the City Council again heard numerous public comments regarding historic preservation. The divisive and emotional issue has pitted private property owners' rights against a public interest in preserving historic structures.

The council voted, 4-2, on Aug. 21 to enact an emergency moratorium on building permits involving demolition and exterior alterations of historic structures - those older than 50 years - in Steamboat Springs. On Tuesday, the council considered the first reading of a regular ordinance that would replace the emergency moratorium and narrow its scope. The intent of the moratorium is to stall demolitions and major exterior projects on historic structures while the city's existing historic preservation ordinance is revisited.

Public comments on the issue lasted about two hours.

City Council proved just as fractured as the crowd; a motion to move the ordinance to a second reading in two weeks narrowly passed, 4-3. Council President Susan Dellinger, Councilwoman Karen Post and Councilmen Towny Anderson and Ken Brenner voted in favor of the moratorium. Councilmen Paul Strong, Steve Ivancie and Loui Antonucci voted against it.

To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

steamvent 6 years, 7 months ago

If you own a home in Steamboat and wonder why it seems so much less affordable to be here, just look at your tax bill. We can't keep approving new burdens for ourselves without adding to the financial pain. If you don't own a home, wonder if you can afford it, and these warm fuzzy amenities keep being funded, you never will. Take a hard look at the people who are pushing for this recreation center ... they need a social hangout funded by YOU. Now the city is going into direct competition with the several small fitness businesses in town ... the same ones who employ people, lease or own commercial space and already service clients who feel the need for the group exercise experience. Stop this madness and vote NO!

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RoxyDad 6 years, 7 months ago

I think that the cost seems to be very high. One of the reasons that I moved to Steamboat was because of all the outdoor activities. I don't need a indoor recreation center in one of the most beautiful places in America.

Go climb the mountain in Summer and in Winter go Ski the mountain!!

You will be in great physical condition!!!!

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mtroach 6 years, 7 months ago

$200 a year in additional property taxes, and user fees. Why subsidise another recreational facility? Join a private gym, ask for more services from your present gym, but please don't raise my taxes for your gym.

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fish 6 years, 7 months ago

BoulderGrad weren't you trying to sell this project on this forum a few weeks ago telling us that it would be done without a tax increase?

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David Wilson 6 years, 7 months ago

So we should spend $3400 for every man, woman and child in Steamboat to build this facility, plus additional amounts every year to maintain it...so that 50 kids can have a diving pool? If I were looking for new place to work out, I could buy quite a few gym memberships for the amount that this bloated project would cost my family. I'll be voting no.

David Wilson

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sickofitall 6 years, 7 months ago

lol, BoulderGrad is probably bias, involved with the industry somehow. What will happen is we will pay taxes, then we will have to pay to use it.

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WZ007 6 years, 7 months ago

I do not believe anyone in the City has given any thought to how much our size of community can reasonably afford either in terms of funding captal cost or in terms of funding operating cost. Watch out, it won't stop at $34 million given the history of project underestimations and cost over runs (remember the tennis bubble, it overran by 50% on a much smaller project, the City department that managed that fiasco is the same one managing the Rec center) - be prepared to fund more than $40 million in capital cost then be prepared for the City to increase taxes to cover operating cost shortfalls since many of the people who want a rec center are looking for a government subsidized facility (if they wanted to pay they would have joined Health and recs)! Vote NO!

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addlip2U 6 years, 7 months ago

The reason people live and come to Steamboat is to use all the wonderful outdoors facilities Steamboat has to offer. If they want to use the amenities Steamboat does NOT have, they would not come, they stay home. BoulderGrad we know you are one of the few that, if the facilities are approved, wants to burden those that are here for the outdoor recreation, with additional tax cost. How selfish! If this is what you want, open a business, run it as a profitable operation (hm, do you wander why Old Town Hot Springs is a not for profit?), but don't burden all of us to pay for the few that want it. Steamboat is not a socialism - Yet?

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ffv 6 years, 7 months ago

$200 per year/$16 per month/$0.50 per day for full time basketball courts, gym, teen center, a clean pool, a place for little kids to play, etc. That doesn't seem so bad. Also, it looks like more than just a few want this...

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fish 6 years, 7 months ago

Well I am glad that you don't feel that 50 cents per day is a lot of money and quite frankly neither do I unless I add that on top of all the other things that I am being taxed for. I think that this is just a bit needless given the other needs of our community, but I guess as long as we can then call this a World Class RESORT it is worth it.

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jlkar 6 years, 7 months ago

So that math is $574.50/ year. I am willing to bet that will grow to somewhere around $750-900/year when all is said and done... people are clearly trying to sell this "lower" price, but we are all familiar with the cost of construction and the contingency line item in this "budget". That is the cost of my ski pass- seem fair? and where exactly will the "little kids play"? do you really think that teens will use a teen center. no. get real.

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Matthew7_1_5 6 years, 7 months ago

Will there be a membership fee? Does anyone know what that cost would be in addition to the taxes? The placement of the facility does not seem to be very good for those who live west of the mountain. Are there any plans that show parking and traffic flow? How many employees will be needed to operate this facility after it is built? What is the cost of heating and cooling such a large facility? Where can I get my questions answered? What will happen to our current health and rec facility? Will it continue to function? Does this new facility create competition for membership fees?

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stayinbalance 6 years, 7 months ago

So unnecessary when our outdoor recreation is world-class! We have much more pressing concerns to spend our money on; like a by-pass, transportation alternatives, water storage, police, fire, affordable housing. Council needs to focus on meeting our future needs for the entire community, not the needs of a few swimmers who want an indoor pool. The Health and Rec can do this.

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twostroketerror 6 years, 7 months ago

Don't we already have a rec center with a workout room, lap pool, diving board, hot pools and a shiny new slide for those of whom wish to pay for it? I don't go there, I don't pay. A larger day care facility for the 'Brats of the Boat' on my dime is pretty darn unacceptable. Vote NO. And wrap that rascal!

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

It was only last week, on a different thread, that stayinbalance said:

"How many people's livelihood depend on the growth and the construction industry here? I would venture to say quite a few!"

Why does that only pertain to the Historical moratorium and not the community in general, when not everyone is "outdoorsy?" Does all this growth only equal your opinion of what's needed or not? If that's the case, why don't we just tear down the Health and Rec completely, also? We obviously don't need it, correct?

Addlip2U says, "The reason people live and come to Steamboat is to use all the wonderful outdoors facilities Steamboat has to offer. If they want to use the amenities Steamboat does NOT have, they would not come, they stay home."

Not the reason I moved or stayed here. Why is it that your opinion allows you to generalize it as everyone's opinion? You accuse BoulderGrad of being selfish for wanting "to burden those that are here for the outdoor recreation, with additional tax cost." How selfish are you to not let it go to a vote so the majority can speak?

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sparkle 6 years, 7 months ago

Direct quote, Steamboat Magazine, Summer/Fall 2007 page 50. "Many are wary of registering a building historic because of remodeling restrictions. But in Routt County there are none. Owners aren't prevented from making any changes to the buildings, and buildings can be removed fronm the registry at any time." What a difference a few weeks make!

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elphaba 6 years, 7 months ago

$200 is a ludicrously low figure. The cost to commercial property will be triple that and passed along to consumers and tenants by the "greedy" commercial property owners. (that's tongue in cheek) Oops - this passes and the cost of living just went way way up for everyone! How many businesses will be driven out by high property taxes? How many renters will not be able to afford the rent increase to cover?

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twostroketerror 6 years, 7 months ago

Oh great guru from the Republic, we thank you for your sagely Front Range reasoning and ways. Consider running for mayor, we could use a good whipping boy. Aieee! I fell into your keyboard-pouncing trap! Curse you Boulder Boy! If it hadn't been for those meddling kids....;)

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

Sparkle- did that Stmbt Mag article say when it was written? It was probably written months ago. We've had the new Magazine for almost a month, anyway.

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another_local 6 years, 7 months ago

Request for information: Does anyone know what the "average" home quoted in the story is worth? In order for people to understand the $200 figure and how it relates to them that info should be part of the story. What is the assesed value for a home that the $200 relates to?

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soccercstate 6 years, 7 months ago

NO... Bouldergrad....NO! Hope this town will finally say NO to something....especially something we will continually pay to use!!! Another tennis bubble::it will cost more than 34 million!!!!

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Icare 6 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone remember how the ice rink expansion was funded?

Weren't the monies raised by those (parents) who wanted a better facility for their hockey-playing kids?

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another_local 6 years, 7 months ago

Trying to sort out this tax thing is something. It looks to me like you could use a 15% increase in property taxes as a rough estimate for what this would cost you. Can anyone confirm that? Naturally, landlords will hand that along as a rent increase.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

anotherlocal- Just wondering- can't you compare your last tax bill based on the amount of mills paid for another tax and compare that to the quote in the story of "up to .7 mills," and see what is closest on your tax bill to that? That might give you a good estimate.

And of course landlords are going to pass this amount on to their renters. Wouldn't a business do that when they are told to increase minimum wage? Wages go up, and so do prices to make up for it, so the landlord doesn't experience a shortfall based on increased wages paid.

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another_local 6 years, 7 months ago

I think that the .7 is a typo and the correct number is 7 mills. Then the method you suggest makes sense in relation to the ~50 mills we pay now. That is where the 15% comes from in my post above. But the info on the county record site is for 2006 so I don't know how is compares to the 2007 info with the new taxes already on the way.

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Hammurabi 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree it's hard to figure where your taxes will be with this added on. Our tax bills which were paid by April 07 are for 06 and do not include the approved new mill levies that will be added to this years assessment. Combine all the mill levies along with the average 49% increase in assessments that took place and you have a large tax hit for most people. It would be of great value if the Pilot/Today would do a complete run down of all the already approved new taxes, along with the estimates of this and any other taxes that may be put to the voters and the dollars they represent per $100,000.00 of valuation. Only then can a voter truly evaluate exactly what this will cost him/her and whether or not they can afford this additional new tax.

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jeannie berger 6 years, 7 months ago

If my paycheck increased each time we have a mill levy increase then I wouldn't worry about it. Unfortunately this isn't the case. Vote no on the rec center

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WZ007 6 years, 7 months ago

Hammurabi - great comment. The average is quite fictitious as it is not based on what everyone will have to pay. The average is an average of what precisely?

Your cost per $100,000 is way more meaningful BUT unfortunately for the advocates of the indoor Rec Center such a cost will look a lot more expensive to us "average" residents than the "average" they quote. This is just another method the City employees are using to "sell" the deal. Be aware that in the end City employees are legally not allowed to support the referendum and if they do we should all report then for doing so! They already have their hands in this pot will they be able to stop before their actions are undeniably illegal under Colorado and Federal law??

By the way, we have recently agreed to a number of multi million dollar projects to fund within the City and County. I recall a new school and a new library; both extremely valuable causes for a large cross section of the community and with untold benefits in terms of helping our community members grow and achieve their dreams especially the young members of our community. So now, the "give-away-folks" want to add further tax burdens that provide for the few.

I also recall that the new high school was turned down by the vote of the residents and was resurrected in a much improved format and at a much improved cost that was approved for construction. The residents of this City have proven once before that they can tell government how to plan and spend wisely lets do it again!!

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another_local 6 years, 7 months ago

The taxes on my home are up $600 since we purchased it ('06 taxes compared to the first year we owned it) As another poster wrote, we have more taxes on the way that are already approved.

The call for the paper to give us a summary is a good one.

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stmbtprof 6 years, 7 months ago

hmmm was it 20 years ago that we JUST had to have a new multimilliondollar airport at bob adams?...which becam defunt in two years ???maybe the newcomers could buy it and save some money for their have to have new rec center....hurray move to Steamboat and change it and rais e taxes /...This is ridiculous to fund the rich so much and in so many ways...

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colobob 6 years, 7 months ago

............with so much to offer already what in the world does Steamboat need a rec. center for? Sounds like somebody somewhere is trying to line their pockets at the taxpayers expense. Just what this town needs is higher taxes! Seems a shame that hiking, climbing, fishing, photography, kayaking, camping, skiing, boarding, hunting, swimming, ect., ect., ect., aren't enough activities to keep people busy as far as recreation goes. There are more things to see and do in Steamboat than most places in this vast country. If people need things to do INDOORS let them move to a city made up of concrete, asphalt, and skyscrapers like New York City! Maybe if they build this center they can teach the kids spray paint technique. Visit or move to Steamboat to stay indoors playing video games..............................Go figure!! Outdoor enthusiests everywhere should rally against this idiotic venture. If people can't find enough to do here there are other places in the country they can go. Keep Steamboat as one of this countries best OUTDOOR places to be, that's what gives it its appeal!

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colobob 6 years, 7 months ago

Doesn't Steamboat already have a "skate park"? As many times as I've gone by it it doesn't seem to be OVER USED. Don't let the big city newbies take the quaintness out of this town any more than they have already. Rally, band together, VOTE, and say NO! Steamboat is an icon in the world of outdoor pursuits - vote to help keep it that way!

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Jon Casson 6 years, 7 months ago

Colobob-

Just to clarify how the skatepark fits in with the rec center. Its part of the overall plan and foorprint at the site, but is not included in the funding or construction of the rec center. The current skatepark is a little over 6000 sq ft which is relatively small for skaters to move around in. Once you get more than 8-10 people at one time, it gets pretty crowded. Crowded means dangerous to younger and more inexperienced users. Just for comparison, Kremmeling just constructed a 10,000 sq ft park and Winter Park just opened a 9,000 sq ft park. What is being proposed on the rec center site is an inground, concrete park around 15k-20k sq ft. The size and scope of this park will make it much more accessible to skaters of all ages and abilities. Concrete parks are extremely durable, low maintenence and relatively inexpensive (around $22-28 per sq ft). Just for comparison, a turf soccer field comes in at roughly the same price. The skatepark project will be funded outside of the rec center project not with the proposed property tax, but through grants, donations and private funding with maybe some help from the city. A new concrete skatepark has been discussed for the past 10 years and the rec center plans is the best chance to get it done. I hope that helps your understanding of the skatepark portion of the rec center.

On another note, one of the top priorities in this community is youth and teen activities. Comes up time and time again on the community surveys. Our current teen and youth centers are laughable. The rec center naysayers seem to have jumped on the the group advocating the project saying they are selfish or "just trying to line their own pockets". The major focus of the rec center is teen and youth activity. We have a pretty big teen drug and alcohol problem in this town. Why? Maybe cuz there's nothing supervised for them to do after school if they dont play a team sport or particpate in the SSWSC. Maybe, just maybe, better teen and youth facilities will help some of these kids make better choices. Its worked in other communities and can work here. Consider the possibility that the rec center group is trying to build something that will help and support our kids for the next several decades as Steamboat continues to grow and diversify. I'm voting yes, you're more than welcome to vote no, but please consider all the angles and the long term implications. For good or bad, Steamboat is growing (and fast). Over the decades, there have been many huge projects that people have claimed would ruin Steamboat (i.e the ski area). How many people in Steamboat didnt want John Fetcher and friends to build a chairlift cuz it might ruin the small town quaintness? Seemed to work out ok in the long run.

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fish 6 years, 7 months ago

Wow you think that this is "worked out well in the long run" RONTLSHIPMP which stands for Rolling on the floor laughing so hard I am almost pissing my pants.

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Jon Casson 6 years, 7 months ago

Excellent and eloquent response, fish. Care to elaborate?

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elkeye 6 years, 7 months ago

Approximately $10 million of the proposed $34 million rec center project is for an indoor competition swim pool and diving well!

Vote NO, until the competition pool/diving well is removed from the project scope or funded through grants, donations and private funding!

To date, the proponents of an indoor competition swim pool and diving well have raised how much?

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colobob 6 years, 7 months ago

just_ten_years_here, First of all maybe you should visit the current skate park on a more regular basis. You will find that more often than not there are less than half a dozen skaters there and many times none at all. If in fact the present area isn't large enough to accomidate the people that currently use it, wouldn't it make more sense to enlarge the one that is already there. There looks to be plenty of room for expansion, and it could be done at a much lower cost and with less of an impact to taxpayers. As far as teen and drug problems are concerned isn't that where parents come in or would you just prefer to have someone else deal with that too? A skate park would make that go away and paid for by who? If you actually believe that then I have some ocean front property in Arizona for sale, interested?

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Jon Casson 6 years, 7 months ago

Colobob-

I'm there often, just about everyday for the past several years. I've been a skater for over 25 years and I've spent the past 4 years working with the city on this project and raising money for a new skatepark, so dont accuse me of ignorance on the subject. The primary users are teens, so go there after school or in the early evening and see how many are there. We'd love to build a new park at the current site but there is very little room for expansion given underground gas lines, railroad boundaries or tearing up existing parking areas. The current configuration is outdated and expensive to build and maintain. Once again, the new skatepark can be constructed without any new taxes and minimal city funding, hence why it is a separate project that is only included in the overall rec center plans. Please read my full post. It will be funded with minimal expense from the city, the majority will be funded by state grants (GoCo, for example), private financial donations and labor/material donations. The rec center is simply a great opportunity to combine the two projects.

How much time have you spent with teenagers other than your own? How often do the parents have complete control or influence on their kid's behavior? You were a teenager once...did you do everything you're parents told you? The fact of the matter is that many kids in town are lacking stable home lives, good adult role models or adult influence. Am I saying that a teen center and/or skatepark will solve those problems...absolutely not. There are a ton of factors in helping kids make good decisions...good schools, stable home lives, good role models and the opportunity to make choices that dont involve drugs or alcohol. All I'm saying is that it can help. All a skatepark can do is provide a place where kids feel welcome and appreciated which can help with confidence and self esteem maybe leading to better choices.....just like any other youth focused facility.

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colobob 6 years, 7 months ago

How about 20 years of coaching youth hockey and soccer programs? That do it for ya? How much time have you spent? Education and respect begin at home. A rec. center is in many cases (not all) just a place for some people to dump their kid so someone else can deal with them. While I'm sure or at least I hope that your passion for a skate park is well intentioned there are plenty of activities available to the youth of Steamboat. Most of which won't burden the already over burdened taxpayers of this town. And yeah I know you're going to tell me again about how this isn't going to come out of the taxpayers pocket. They (the taxpayers) won't have to pay the additional police and EMT's that will be required on duty. They won't lose tax dollars even though this will probably be considered a non-profit organization. They won't have to cut grass plow snow or maintain the facilities. And when was there ever minimal expense as far as city government was concerned? There are countless activities for teens in Steamboat all that is needed is a little guidance, throwing money at it is not the answer!

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Jon Casson 6 years, 7 months ago

What about the ice rink and the local soccer fields? Are hockey and soccer the only acceptable forms of activities the city should support? The SSWSC, SSYSA and the SSYHA are all valid organizations in town, why not a Skateboard group? You of all people should understand where we're coming from. Where would hockey be in this town if a group of citizens hadn't stepped up to make it happen? How about the expenses we incur for Triple Crown and the ballfields? We spend gobs of money supporting a ton of activities in Steamboat. Take a look at the parks and rec budget sometime and see how much is spent on soccer/ball fields, Howelsen Hill and the Ice Rink. A skatepark wont even touch a fraction of that expense. Give me one good reason why a skatepark isnt worthy of the same support as soccer or hockey.

Additional police and EMT?!? for what?

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colobob 6 years, 7 months ago

Am I being exclusionary? Is it just soccer or hockey or anything else that should be funded? Not at all. The point is this is not a bottomless pit of money we are talking about and at some point it has to stop or at least slow down. $3.4 million in additional property tax is the issue. Hockey generates fees for ice time and league fees, league fees apply to soccer as well, so do softball tournaments that generate income for the town. Ask a restaurant owner! Does this income defray the costs? Absolutely not. Nothing in life is free, everything has a cost. $3.4 million is one heck of a cost. I've listened to your opinion and you mine. The voters will ultimately decide the outcome. I hope it's no, Not to deprive the kids but to give the taxpayers some relief. There are plenty of activities to keep the youth and everyone else in Steamboat for that matter busy. This is one of the most diverse places in the country as far as rec. opportunities go. Sometimes you need to utilize what you have and although I realize that the present skatepark isn't world class there is a skatepark. Despite your claims that it can't be expanded upon I disagree - where there is a will there is a way. The allure of Steamboat is in the "outdoor experiences" and the quaintness that it offers. It is what put it on the map and what draws people from around the world to come and vacation and spend their money here.

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Jon Casson 6 years, 7 months ago

Once again, and I dont know how to explain this in simpler terms, the proposed concrete skatepark is not part of the $34 million price tag for the rec center nor will it be funded from the proposed $3.4 million property tax increase. I would be happy to expand in the current location, but it isnt the ideal spot for a larger facility given the limitations I listed earlier. Take a tape measure over there, measure out an additional 10k sq ft and tell me where it goes. You cant do it without ripping out underground gas lines or existing parking which would raise the cost significantly. Go take a look at other skateparks around Colorado. Aspen (13,000 sq ft), Silverthorne (11,000), Boulder (17,000), Fairplay (7500), Kremmling (10,000), Winter Park (9000), Edwards (18,000), Carbondale (15,000), Salida (8000), Trinidad, Pueblo, Westminster, Aurora, Centennial, the list could go on and on. All of these are concrete, inground facilities. Why have all these communities invested in skateparks like this? Because there was a portion of their community that wanted it and concrete is inexpensive and durable compared to the above ground structures like the ones in our park. Winter Park has a full time population of just over 1000 residents. Their City officials and council felt that a new park was an appropriate use of funds that would benefit a significant portion of their residents and visitors. Steamboat is 10x their size and our park isn't half the facility theirs is. But its not about keeping up with the Jones, its about recognizing that skateboarding and skateparks are just as valid and important as ballfields and ice rinks. Its about having a facility that meets the needs of the users and is up to a current acceptable standard just like roofing the ice rink, putting plastic on the Howelsen jumps or a new golf clubhouse. Once again, our proposal is to do this with a minimum of funding from the city- less than the yearly loss the city takes on the ice rink or Howelsen Hill. Regardless of where it's placed (rec center or not) an inground, concrete skatepark is gonna cost the same and not burden the taxpayers anymore than an additional soccer field. If you're such an advocate of relieving the taxpayer burden, would you be in favor of raising all the fees at the ice rink to actually cover all the expenses? Maybe we should eliminate a soccer field or two? After all, you should be ok with adequate facilities, right?

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colobob 6 years, 7 months ago

Up until now I thought I was dealing with a person of intelligence, apparently I was mistaken. I skydive, maybe we could raise money, buy a plane, me and the handful of people that skydive in town can use it and get the town (tax payers) to pay for the hanger and maintainence of the plane. Maybe we could pave a soccer field and use it for a runway. It would only require a minimum of funding. Hey maybe we could turn the the present skatepark into a helipad but then we'd need a 'copter. No matter we could spend someone elses money on it. I'll bet that you probably feed the bears too! Right? The voters will decide this matter collectively. I hope they do so intelligently

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

So, based on all this naysaying, the City can now stop putting any and all funds into Howelsen Hill, right? Already got a privately owned ski mountain in Steamboat. Surely, someone with deep pockets and grants can move the jumping facility over to Mt. Werner. Then, we can put up more condos and retail space all over Emerald Mountain.

We could also stop funding the SST. The majority of us all own privately owned vehicles and Alpine Taxi is a private company, correct? Make the SST pay-per-service instead of free. That would help taxes from going up all the way around. Then, the Old Town Hot Springs can start being a For-Profit company and raise rates for memberships.

Will that make everyone happy?

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Jon Casson 6 years, 7 months ago

Please tell me how anything I've written is stupid or unintelligent. I also thought I was engaged in an intelligent debate about an issue, not a personal name calling match. I present reasonable talking points based on facts and examples, yet somehow, I'm the stupid one. Nice job stepping up to the plate and acting like an adult....I also have been a coach and worked with young people for the past 10 years. I try to set a good example by not resorting to name calling when I dont get my way or people disagree with me.

What do bears have to do with this?...or maybe I'm just unintelligent and dont get your reference.

Oh yeah, the city is paying for a runway and hangar already. $1.2 million annually....double what the one time cost of a new skate park would be. The 2007 budget for the Ice Rink calls for $270k in General Tax Support. You never answered my question why that is worthy of our tax dollars and a skatepark isnt.

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elkeye 6 years, 7 months ago

A proposed skateboard park is not part of the $34 million price tag for the rec center nor will it be funded from the proposed $3.4 million property tax increase. GOT IT!

Rather than focus on what is NOT part of the $34 million price tag for the rec center nor what will NOT be funded from the proposed $3.4 million property tax increase, I would suggest that everyone focus on what IS part of the $34 million price tag for the proposed rec center and will be funded from the proposed $3.4 million property tax increase.

Why is it that the supporters of the proposed rec center seem to ignore the $10 million white elephant in the price tag?

Including a "zero-depth entry pool" in association with an indoor competition pool/diving well is like putting lipstick on a pig.

Until the indoor competition pool/diving well is removed from the project scope or funded through grants, donations and private funding, vote NO.

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another_local 6 years, 7 months ago

Interesting digression in the discussion. As pointed out several times, the $34 million price tag does not include the skate park which is apparently being funded by other means. If that is the case, more power to them.

I don't think the rec center folks should be using the skate park to help sell the tax funded project they are proposing though. How about if we skip the swimming pool/diving well et al and the city contributes the land for a skate park someplace and we all call it a day with NO NEW TAXES. (The BMX park would be a good spot if we don't worry about the teens smoking whatever they smoke around the grommets and bullying them)

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retiredinss 6 years, 7 months ago

I enjoyed reading all of the pro and con comments vis a vis the proposed recreation center. It is good to see folks getting involved in the debate before the election, airing all of the issues. For example, yes the property tax proposal is for the capital construction costs (the estimated $34 million) and a portion of the operating costs of facilities. The remainder is going to be funded by membership fees, family, individual, one time, annual. A good guess estimate for the annual family membership to start is about $900 annually; however, the number does depend on the number of folks who actually sign up to use the facilities. I exercise almost daily in town, some of the facilities are well used, others not. My experience is that there are a very limited number of people (percent of total pop) who regularly use gyms--my own estimate is less than 5%, where there isn't direct competition with other activities like skiing, skating, etc. SS is a bit different perhaps in that it is a very exercise concious town-however, with a population of about 13, 000, and say 4 per family, 150 plus or minus families might be candidates for active gym use. How many of those are already at OTHS or elsewhere and would switch?

On the question of cost of the facility--the architect based their estimate on (a) a cost per sq ft average for similar facilities, and then applied (b) an escalation for time, and (c) an escalation for a Steamboat Springs location factor. This is reasonable for a 'guess' at what a facility might cost, not having any actual architectual design, any engineering, any site evaluation work done. Normally a business would pay some money to get these types of works done, and then reestimate the costs on that basis. As we have seen recently in the community center case, when a cost overrun happens, the City has only one choice, cut back on the facility and add to the funding. Given the history here, it is not unreasonable to be wary that we are seeing a low cost estimate.

Another issue, recent reassessment of residential property increased valuations by 46% on average in SS. The state legislature recently passed a law freezing the mil levy for that portion of property tax for education, which is about half of our total property tax. In effect, this appears to mean that about half our property tax could, on average, be subject to a 46% increase? This needs more looking into before election time.

On the use issue, it seems like there will be a limited number of swimmers and divers ( I keep hearing 100 to 150), a limited number of regular exercisers, and very few teens actually using the center (most parents indicate their children will not be caught dead in such a facility), which leaves perhaps child care as the only potential large user. If this is the case, $34 million seems like a good bit of money to pay for a child care facility?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

Retiredinss- The teens would not be caught dead in a Teen Center standing alone as just that. They've indicated that a Teen Center rolled into a multi-use center would be used a lot more. Plus, if this is on the Mountain, I'd see a lot of use by visitors. They use the Downtown facility as it is; why wouldn't those people staying on the mountain use the mountain facility instead? Sure, it's not hot spring heated, but it could be a bigger, better facility overall. The Old Town facility is outgrowing it's space as it is.

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retiredinss 6 years, 7 months ago

Matthew-

I haven't any insight on the teen use of a multi-generational, multi-use facility.

On the visitor use, if the center is primarily for visitors, then I have to wonder why it wouldn't be built by private concerns interested in providing recreational services? I have a concern when the government-even at the city level-gets into a 'business' that apparently private concerns won't. I have to inquire why not?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm not saying it will be used primarily by visitors. It's an added customer base, if it happens. Old Town caters to both; I don't see why a new one couldn't also. Haymaker was built for locals, yet visitors use it also. Same with the Tennis Bubble. All it can do is enhance what Steamboat has to offer.

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