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December 17, 2013
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District shifts focus to Crown Park

The idea of a midvalley recreation center has been put to rest for the foreseeable future after a convincing defeat in November.

Bill Reynolds, president of the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District, which presented the ballot question, said the district is focused on improving the existing park and its facilities in 2014.

“Are we set up for another election right now? No,” he said, referring to the recreation center. “We’re really going to focus on the park right now.”

The district asked midvalley voters to approve the issuance of $25 million in general obligation bonds to build the proposed center. Property taxes would have been raised to repay the bonds. Voters crushed the proposal by a margin of 71 to 29 percent. A question seeking a property tax increase for maintenance and operations of the center failed by a similar margin.

Reynolds said there was clearly a mandate against taxes, given the outcome on the recreation center and other local and statewide issues on the November ballot. He is less certain there was a mandate against recreational facilities. He said he believes Crown Mountain’s board needs to assess what facilities exist and what demand for additional facilities exists along with the town of Basalt and the Basalt public schools.

“We all need to figure out what we need to be when we grow up,” he said.

There is high demand for a year-round tennis facility as well as a sheet of ice for hockey. Crown Mountain has land available for those facilities, and they were included in the master plan for the property, but private funds would likely be needed to build them, according to Reynolds.

For next year, the district plans to add sail-like shade structures near the playground to provide relief from the sun. Playing surfaces will be improved with new turf. The district hopes to attract more major tournaments such as the lacrosse event that was held there last summer. The staff will look into the possibility of holding concerts there, as well.

Reynolds said preliminary meetings were held with the school and the town of Basalt well before the election to start assessing recreational facilities and needs. The meetings need to be resumed, he said.

“We just need to set up the meetings and go for it,” he said.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Dec 17, 2013 09:52PM Published Dec 19, 2013 07:41AM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.