City of Aspen wants to expand fitness area at rec center
Plans to expand fitness facilities at the Aspen Recreation Center are slowly inching forward.
The advisory committee for the ARC, which is comprised of a group of local residents, met Tuesday with Aspen City Council to give an update on what they’ve been up to.
While plans are still far out, the board and the parks and recreation staff are looking at ways to capitalize on underutilized areas within the ARC.
Staff is currently exploring with Hagman Architects how to efficiently and quickly redesign existing space for a temporary, interim solution until a larger, permanent fitness center can be created.
Council members were receptive to the expansion and directed the board to continue their work.
“Let’s keep exploring this and keep talking about it,” Councilman Adam Frisch said.
The temporary space that is been looked at is located on the lower levels of the ARC.
Aspen City Council in 2017 gave the ARC $75,000 toward a financial assessment for future programming. Long-term expansion projects eventually include a new fitness center above the ARC’s indoor pool.
The current plan includes about 5,000 square feet above the existing aquatic space for the fitness center. It would have 22 pieces of cardiovascular equipment, 25 weight stations and three additional fitness stations.
ARC staff and its consulting team realize that with the Aspen Club closed, there are not many options for fitness facilities in the upper valley.
There were just over 1,600 members of the Aspen Club, so there is opportunity to get them signed on as well as new residents, the assessment report states.
“The changes projected for the city of Aspen’s population provide the Aspen Recreation Center with new opportunities for membership growth,” the report reads. “From these assumptions, PROS Consulting projects that an expanded fitness program offering at the ARC will operate with net income equaling approximately $67,507 (cost recovery of 132 percent).”
When the ARC opened in 2003, staff and the advisory committee heard the public’s disappointment that there was not a fitness center in their new facility.
So space was repurposed in order to accommodate cardio and resistance equipment areas. As a result, there was an immediate 24 percent increase in pass sales, according to the 2017 assessment.
Costs to build temporary or permanent spaces are undetermined at this point.
Jeff Woods, parks and recreation manager, said while membership would offset the costs of operations, it won’t cover all of it.
“We are pretty confident that we will recover well with a fitness facility,” he said, “but it will cost us more money, there is no doubt about it.”
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