City’s recreation plans to be laid out tonight |

City’s recreation plans to be laid out tonight

John Colson

For anyone wondering exactly what the city plans to do with nearly $14 million dollars in recreation-related funds, today is your chance to find out.

The city of Aspen is holding an open house at the Wheeler Opera House tonight, from 5 to 7 p.m., and Aspen-area residents are invited.

“I want people to understand that this is a great place to give input, and to understand the vision,” said Parks Director Jeff Woods, one of the architects of the list of projects that are the subject of the open house.

The projects are to be funded by $13.8 million in general obligation bonds, subject to voter approval in an election this May.

An estimated $7 million of the money is for an ambitious recreation complex at the Iselin/Rotary/Moore parks area, just west of town along Maroon Creek Road.

Proposed within this complex are a new swimming pool facility ($4 million); four new ballfields, three new soccer fields and other landscaping, wetland and “native area restoration” projects ($2 million); and a “campus” with trails, a pedestrian bridge leading to the public schools across the road and another soccer field ($1 million).

Another $3.9 million is to pay for construction of eight tennis courts at the Plum Tree athletic field site, a variety of restoration and improvements at Wagner Park in town, a basketball court and playground at the Yellow Brick School, resurfacing of the Rio Grande Trail with a 10-foot tinted concrete surface, and a walking path along Cemetery Lane.

Rounding out the bonding question will be requests for $1.6 million for improvements at the municipal golf course (to be repaid by golf course user fees) and renovation of the Aspen Ice Garden at a cost of $1.09 million. Another $300,000 has been added as a contingency fund, according to a list drawn up by Woods.

Woods said that if the voters approve the master plan, it could all be completed within three to five years.

At tonight’s meeting, Woods said, there will be “stations” set up for each project, complete with drawings of the projects and staffers on hand to answer any questions from citizens and to take down suggestions or criticisms regarding the plans.

Woods stressed that the bonds are to be paid back without a tax increase, at a rate of about $900,000 per year. He said the city will use the 1 cent open space and parks sales tax, which generates more than $3 million per year in revenues, leaving the city more than $2 million per year for other open space and recreation needs.

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