Carbondale: Scaled back but still booming
Aspen Times Weekly
The new Carbondale Recreation and Community Center might be different than when it was first conceived, but it seems to be making the grade as far as the town’s residents are concerned.
Open less than two months, the center ” located next to Town Hall ” has more than 450 members. It is so full at times that its managers doubt another person could be accommodated.
“People have really embraced the center,” said facility manager Eric Brendlinger, adding that at peak times there appears to be “about 60-40 in-town residents and guests who live just out of town.”
The center is open daily and offers “play care” ” child care for people using the center’s facilities ” at various times on weekdays and Saturdays.
The 13,558-square-foot “rec center,” as it is generally called, cost nearly $4.3 million to build, took less than a year to complete, and is one of only two L.E.E.D. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified public buildings in the Roaring Fork Valley (the other being the Sundeck at the top of Aspen Mountain), according to Carbondale Recreation Director Jeff Jackel. The certification is an acknowledgment of the building’s energy-efficient “green” design; Jackel said it may qualify for “gold” status, which is the second highest level of accomplishment.
The center contains the expected array of athletically oriented amenities, including a 32-foot-high climbing wall, a gymnasium and cardio-training circuit with free weights, and a “life fitness” room with treadmills, stationary cycles and other gear. The center also boasts a multipurpose room that can be rented out for parties, meetings, lectures and other activities, and plans call for public concerts and other events to be held there periodically throughout the year.
Plus, work has begun on modifications to the southern wall of the center by adding garage-style doors, which will open onto an outdoor patio in nice weather for what Brendlinger said “might be the only indoor cycling class where you have to put some sunscreen on.”
User fees reflect a range of categories, from a resident discount for Carbondale residents to a special guest category for those who live in the 81623 ZIP code but not within Carbondale’s town boundaries to a visitor level for all others.
Users can pay a daily admission fee, or they can opt to buy a pass for a month, three months or a year; a punch pass good for 20 visits, with no expiration date, is also available.
Town officials first started thinking about building a recreation center in 2001, when a feasibility study was commissioned to gauge public interest. At that point, the concept was for a 30,000-square-foot facility that would have cost around $6.2 million, or about $110 per square foot, Jackel said. But inflation and other difficulties took a toll on the project, so that when the voters finally approved a sales tax hike and bond issue to build the center, the cost was $217 per square foot.
“The price doubled,” Jackel noted. This forced the town to scale back its plans, although Jackel said the town did get help in the form of $690,000 in state grants, as well as private corporate donations and money from the Carbondale Public Arts Commission for the Bill Mueller sculpture that stands out in front of the building.
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