Breaking down 4A | AspenTimes.com

Breaking down 4A

Dear Editor:

This is to provide you and your readers with information about ballot question 4A, which asks voters in the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District for a temporary property tax increase to fund a master-plan update for Crown Mountain Park.

Residents of the midvalley area, led by the Friends of the Recreation Center Committee, have been working for several years to develop a recreation center in the midvalley. Their efforts have included conducting a wide-ranging public survey, holding a number of well-attended public meetings to discuss possible recreation center designs and programming, and many hours of consulting with the Crown Mountain District board, Eagle County staff and elected officials and recreation planning professionals.

Those efforts have shown that there is strong support for the development of a recreation center in the midvalley and that the most logical location for such a center is the Crown Mountain Park property in El Jebel.

In discussing the recreation center concept with Eagle County, it has become clear that more planning needs to be done before a midvalley recreation center can become a reality. The county planning staff and county commissioners have raised legitimate questions about the design, siting and impacts of a new facility and its relationship with the El Jebel neighborhood and with the other buildings on the Crown Mountain property.

As the owner of the property (the Crown Mountain District leases the park property from the county for $1/year), Eagle County has a responsibility to raise these questions and the Crown Mountain District has a responsibility to respond to them fully and deliberately. In order to do so, the district will need to undertake an extraordinary planning effort aimed at answering Eagle County’s questions about recreation center design, funding and location while also addressing other questions raised by possible recreation center development.

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What facilities and features should be included in the park’s final build out?

Should the Eagle County Community building be expanded to accommodate additional office space? How should public transportation and access be addressed?

What are the long-term funding needs of the park for maintenance and operations?

Because of the number and complexity of the questions to be addressed, the Crown Mountain board is characterizing the planning effort as a master-plan update that will focus on the recreation center question but will also look at the many related issues. The planning work will include a follow-up public survey aimed at examining the community’s recreation needs and how to best provide for those needs through a variety of programs and facilities.

The tax increase being requested is .36 mills to be collected for one year in addition to the 1.0 mill already being collected to fund the district’s current operations. The additional .36 mill levy, which would add approximately $14.50 to the tax bill for a house valued at $500,000, will raise approximately $182,000, which, along with other district revenue, will fund the planning work described above.

If Question 4A is approved, work on the master-plan update will get underway immediately after the election and continue into 2010. The result of the master-plan update will be a revised and amended planned unit development (PUD) for the property that will provide a blueprint for development, including a recreation center, well into the future. If the various planning questions can be answered in a timely and complete fashion, and if it appears that public sentiment is supportive, the district may come back to the public with a request for full funding of recreation center development as early as the fall of 2010. At that time the public will have a chance to make a fully informed final decision on recreation center development.

Mark Fuller

Planning Consultant

Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District

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