El Jebel rec-center plan may shrink | AspenTimes.com

El Jebel rec-center plan may shrink

EL JEBEL – Proponents of a proposed recreation center in El Jebel are exploring how to reduce the size and cost of the facility to lower the tax burden for midvalley residents.

Eagle County commissioners approved a 63,000-square-foot recreation center at Crown Mountain Park in June, but the parks and recreation district must earn voter approval for a property tax to pay off bonds before the structure can be built.

Crown Mountain’s board of directors decided not to approach voters in November.

“They just thought it was too soon,” said Jeanette Darnauer, a public relations and communications consultant helping the district. “They wanted to give the community enough time for the economy to turn around.”

The board has discussed the idea of putting a question on the November 2013 ballot, but no decision has been made.

As proposed, the recreation facility would require a $25 million bond for construction and a $500,000 subsidy for operations and maintenance. The property tax implication would be an extra $3.26 per month per $100,000 of a home’s market value. That works out to $16.30 per month for a home with a market value of $500,000.

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The Crown Mountain taxing district extends from Old Snowmass to Blue Lake and from the Capitol Creek Valley up the Fryingpan Valley and into Missouri Heights. Crown Mountain estimates there are about 10,000 residents in the district.

Darnauer said the board wants to re-examine the cost of the facility since the price was estimated a couple of years ago. The district also is working with consultant Bob Kaufman and members of its planning and design team to seek a reduction in the size and cost of the building. The reduction is being sought “so they wouldn’t have to go to the public to ask for such a big number,” Darnauer said. The goal is to complete the review by the end of 2012.

Once the size question is resolved, the district still must determine if the timing is right to seek a property tax increase to build and subsidize operations of a recreation center.

“I think that will be a discussion when they get their final number,” Darnauer said.

The Crown Mountain board won’t decide until early 2013 whether to place a question on the ballot later in the year, according to Darnauer.

The first phase of a recreation center would include an indoor swimming area with lap and recreation pools; weight training and cardio equipment; a fitness, aerobics and dance studio; an indoor jogging track; a rock-climbing wall; a multipurpose gym; a game room; meeting and event rooms; and a child care room.

An additional 22,000 square feet is approved for an ice rink, indoor tennis courts, more swimming lanes and other facilities. The additional space would require additional funding.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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