Meeting to focus on proposals for rec center, Aspen Ice Garden |

Meeting to focus on proposals for rec center, Aspen Ice Garden

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – Several potential projects at the Aspen Recreation Center, including construction of a new fitness area and outdoor hot tubs, are expected to highlight Tuesday’s Aspen City Council work session.

The public meeting starts at 4 p.m. and will be at the rec center, located on Maroon Creek Road just south of Aspen High School. A tour of the facilities will kick off the gathering, followed by a discussion with the rec center’s citizen advisory committee about various proposals.

Earlier in the day, council members are scheduled to participate in a short tour of the Aspen Ice Garden on West Hyman Avenue. Numerous improvements to that facility are likely to be part of the discussion on recreation issues during the meeting at the rec center.

Tim Anderson, the city’s recreation director, said his staff and the advisory committee will be seeking direction from the council concerning how to proceed with future goals.

Under one scenario, a new 5,500-square-foot fitness facility would be located above the indoor pool area. On the rec center’s roof, there is a gap between two sections of the building, and the fitness center would fill it, Anderson said.

“There’s a depression, an indentation, between the entry peak of the building and another peak above the pool. So we would simply fill in a void and would not even go as high as existing roof lines,” Anderson said.

“The area has the potential for a fitness-center expansion, which our users would love to see,” he added. The current gym at the rec center is housed in a small area that was not originally intended to serve as a fitness facility when the center was built in 2003.

“The advisory committee would like to see council move forward with detailed design of that space so we know exactly what type of funding we’d be looking at to get it accomplished sometime down the road,” Anderson said.

The committee wants to know whether the council wants to include design and engineering costs for the fitness center in the city’s 2013 budget, which won’t be finalized until late this year.

“All we’re asking for is some design money,” he said.

Two outdoor hot tubs, or “grottos” as they are referred to in city documents, already have been designed. They would be in the patio area just outside the French doors that lead into the indoor pool. In 2008, the hot-tubs project was moving forward, but those plans were put on hold after the downturn in the economy, Anderson said.

There has been a lot of talk over the years about a small outdoor pool in the patio area, but the rec center isn’t pursuing that idea.

“We had the pool designed, and we got bids for it, but the bids came in higher than the funding amount that we had,” Anderson said. “We were trying to work with a contractor to bring the price down and make it work, and that’s when things started going south in the economy. We’re not asking for the pool right now.”

Only adults would be allowed to use the outdoor hot tubs. Anderson said the use of the rec center’s indoor hot tub by children has become a health and safety concern. In a memorandum to the council, he wrote that the “104-degree temperatures are identified as safety issues to certain young ages” and also that adults have complained about children using the tubs “when they wish to relax.”

Other items that are planned for discussion Tuesday include improvements to the Lewis Ice Arena, which is located at the rec center, as well as projects to upgrade the Aspen Ice Garden in the city’s West End.

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