Breckenridge Recreation Dept. trims services despite high use | AspenTimes.com

Breckenridge Recreation Dept. trims services despite high use

Robert Allen
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge Recreation Department is trimming services, which took effect Saturday, as the town copes with budget shortfalls.

“We’re hoping the changes will be a really minimal impact on the local community, but in some cases it might be noticed,” recreation center director Lynn Zwaagstra said.

The changes for 2009 and 2010 are to affect operating hours, programs and fees. They come despite a constant rise in visitor numbers – which are up more than 10 percent from this time in 2008 – and program participation, which is up about 17 percent, Zwaagstra said.

“We’ve seen a steady increase the last three years,” she said.

Beginning Aug. 1, the Stephen C. West Ice Arena will not open until 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Front desk hours the remainder of the week will continue to be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The outdoor ice rink will not open until Nov. 16, according to a press release.

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Winter hours for the ice arena will remain the same as last year.

“That’s our busiest time,” Zwaagstra said.

The Breckenridge Recreation Center is to reduce weekend hours after Sept. 7: opening from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Weekday hours are to remain at 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“We tend not to see heavy usage on Sundays, so that’s why [changes are] significant on that day in particular,” Zwaagstra said.

The department’s printed brochure has been discontinued as the focus for information and program registration turns to http://www.breckenridgerecreation.com.

The fee for online registration has been eliminated as well, Zwaagstra said.

“We have not had much response to our online registration, and that’s one of our major initiatives – it’s actually a cost-savings initiative,” she said.

Many programs through the recreation department are to remain available, but less sessions are to be offered.

Hockey isn’t expected to be impacted, as it’s one of the most popular programs with about 680 locals participating, Zwaagstra said.

Programs with especially low participation could be cut. A triathlon for children, for example, is getting the ax.

Zwaagstra said questions or comments are welcome.

“Folks will see some increases in program fees,” she said. “For the most part, the customer hasn’t really seen many of the changes yet.”

rallen@summitdaily.com