City seeks ideas on pool, ice rink |

City seeks ideas on pool, ice rink

John Colson

There will be a public meeting tomorrow to gather opinions and ideas about a planned swimming pool and ice rink complex at the Iselin Field area on the western edge of town.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Sister Cities Room, located in the basement of Aspen City Hall.

Recreation officials will present the latest plans for the complex, including a proposal to relocate the Aspen Youth Center from its current site next to the Pitkin County Jail in the center of town.

According to city Recreation Director Jeff Woods, the meeting is intended to gather ideas from the public concerning the design of the pool and ice rink. Issues up for discussion include how many swimming lanes are needed, whether the plans should call for such amenities as a therapy pool or kiddie pool, and what kind of facilities should be included in the ice rink.

Woods said the city is currently working with an estimate of $6 million to build an ice rink with up to 500 seats. The rink would share a common entrance with the pool, and the Youth Center would be located in an adjoining facility that has yet to be fully designed.

A committee of about a dozen people has been formed to begin the process of raising money to pay for the ice rink. The pool is being funded by money raised through the sale of municipal bonds, authorized by Aspen’s voters last year.

Despite apparent disinterest on the part of local government officials, an Aspen woman is continuing a campaign to convince the city to build a matched pair of ice rinks on land now occupied by the Aspen School District’s bus barn on Maroon Creek Road.

Toni Kronberg, a local swimming instructor, has conferred with a wide range of people working on the evolving plan to build an ice rink attached to a new municipal swimming pool at Iselin Park.

Kronberg believes that inclusion of an ice rink at Iselin Park will interfere with future expansion of the pool, and that the location of ice-skating facilities on the school grounds would make more sense for youth-related skating programs.

“She’s on, as far as we can tell, a one-person campaign,” said Aspen City Manager Steve Barwick about Kronberg’s effort.

Noting that there are more than 1,000 users of the city’s sole existing rink, the Aspen Ice Garden, Kronberg has argued in front of the City Council that it would be better to build two ice rinks on land now occupied by the bus barn and leave more room at Iselin for additional pool facilities in the future. She also has advocated the conversion of the Ice Garden site to affordable housing, an idea that has been flatly rejected by the city.

The bus barn is located on the Aspen school campus, across Maroon Creek Road from the site of the new pool and proposed single-sheet skating rink. Kronberg has suggested the barn could be moved to another location to make room for the recreational facilities.

But school Superintendent Tom Farrell said this week that the district considers itself to be in a partnership with the city regarding plans to build recreational facilities at Iselin, as well as ball fields at the Moore subdivision and a new track facility on the school campus adjacent to the bus barn.

Farrell also said the school district has already begun working on plan to renovate the bus barn, including construction of housing for bus drivers. The school board is not considering a plan to move the bus barn elsewhere to make room for ice skating facilities, he said.

Kronberg said she plans to attend the public meeting to air her ideas, and hopes to have some supporters on hand to bolster her cause.

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