No vote this fall on midvalley rec center | AspenTimes.com

No vote this fall on midvalley rec center

Janet UrquhartThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado

crownmtn.orgAn artist's rendering depicts the envisioned recreation center at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. A public vote on financing the facility, originally expected to occur in November, has been put off.

EL JEBEL – A proposed midvalley recreation center won’t be on the November ballot after all, the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District board of directors has decided, but the plan will go before Eagle County commissioners for review Tuesday in El Jebel.The board is seeking county approval of a master plan amendment for Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel to allow future development of the rec center. Acknowledging concern among midvalley residents about the impact of additional taxes, however, the district will put off asking voters to approve financing of the project.A recent mail-in survey, sent to about 4,000 midvalley residents, suggested support for the facility, but indicated the time isn’t right for a public vote, the district said in a press release.”People are concerned about the tax burden,” confirmed Mark Fuller, planning consultant for the recreation district.More than half of the survey respondents indicated they would definitely or probably vote in favor of tax questions, but the number of people who said they would definitely support the measures wasn’t high enough to give the board confidence, Fuller said.The midvalley has been hard hit by the recession and the board recognized that reality, Fuller said.”That hit home with the board. They wanted to be responsive to that,” he said.Putting off the ballot measure will allow the board to seek the approvals it needs from the county without the pressure of deadlines associated with a looming election, Fuller added.”We didn’t want to force the county into a corner, having to deny it even though they might support the recreation center, just because the issues haven’t been worked out,” he said.The district board wasn’t scheduled to decide until August whether it would put mill levy and bonding questions on the fall ballot, but came to a decision last week to delay that step.The envisioned ballot questions would have proposed a $25 million construction bond issue and a $500,000 annual subsidy for operation and maintenance of the recreation center. The cost to a residential property owner was estimated at $3.26 per $100,000 of a home’s market value.If Eagle County approves the master plan amendment, the recreation district board will then decide when to ask voters to authorize funding for the rec center’s construction and operation.The location of the building within the park, as well as parking and traffic impacts, are among the issues that are expected to see further debate before county commissioners. The Roaring Fork Regional Planning and Zoning Commission voted 3-2 to reject the proposal on June 16, but the P&Z vote was merely advisory.County commissioners are scheduled to visit the Crown Mountain Park site at 5 p.m. Tuesday, before convening at 6 p.m. in the adjacent Eagle County Community Center to discuss the recreation center proposal.The master plan amendment proposed two phases of development for the center. The first phase is a 63,000-square-foot facility that includes an indoor swimming area with lap lanes and recreational swimming, a hot tub, weight training and cardio facilities, a fitness/aerobics/dance studio, indoor jogging track, rock climbing wall, multi-propose gym and more.Additional phases could include a 10,220-square-foot, eight-lane competitive lap pool or a 13,720-square foot gymnastics/zero-gravity facility. A 40,000-square-foot ice rink and 35,900-square-foot indoor tennis center would also be permitted under the proposed master plan amendment.janet@aspentimes.com

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