Flushing out the wave pool | AspenTimes.com

Flushing out the wave pool

Just like every other municipality across the U.S., the city of Aspen could use a few more amenities and improvements.

But at a cost of $900,000, we feel the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC) needs a wave pool ” or FlowRider, as they call it ” about as much the Sundeck needs an ice-skating rink.

Elected officials, meeting at a recent City Council work session, discussed improvements to the ARC, which would include an outdoor family pool, a grottos area and two hot tubs.

The cost of that plan, the first phase for the ARC’s expansion into the outdoors, is $1.8 million. The project would be funded with $1.1 million in TABOR money (in 2005 city voters approved using excess property taxes on ARC improvements), $150,000 from state lottery revenues, and $583,000 from the city’s parks department.

Less clear is the source of money for the FlowRider, a pool that creates an ocean wave for surfer-types to test their skills. They’re fairly common in theme parks such as Water World in Denver.

Proponents of the wave pool argue that a FlowRider would attract more middle- and high-school students to the ARC.

Maybe so, but we think forking over $900,000 for an outdoor feature, which would operate for likely a maximum of four months a year, runs counter to fiscal logic. We also agree with Councilman Steve Skadron, who reportedly said the ARC is “not a water park. … It’s not Disneyland.”

Indeed, it seems as if FlowRider activists are creating a demand that simply does not exist. They’re not the first to do that in Aspen, but this near $1 million cost to taxpayers is something we cannot support.

Members of Aspen City Council seemed to have the same reaction when the FlowRider proposal came to light. We hope they stay firm on their position, especially since $900,000 could be spent on less-exclusive amenities that operate more than one-third of a year.

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