Midvalley approves funds to plan El Jebel recreation center
EL JEBEL – Midvalley voters gave a green light Tuesday to provide funds for planning of an indoor recreation center at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel.
The proposal passed by a vote of 1,136 to 916, when the votes cast in Eagle and Pitkin counties were combined. Pitkin County voters in the midvalley actually voted against the measure by a vote of 306 to 305. Voters in Eagle County voted in support by a margin of 831 to 610. The cumulative vote counted.
“We’re very pleased, of course. We think it’s a necessary next step for the park,” said Mark Fuller, a consultant who helped a group of residents organize and promote the proposal.
Voters approved a one-year, 0.36 mill levy increase to the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District. That property tax hike will be added to the district’s existing 1 mill. The additional tax will raise an estimated $182,000 for planning of the recreation center and the remaining land at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel, Fuller said.
Proponents of the recreation center initially wanted to seek funding for the facility this year, but it was too much, too soon. The dollars approved Tuesday will help flesh out details necessary to seek voter support for a multi-million dollar facility, Fuller said.
He believes the idea of a recreation center was popular for several reasons. “First of all, I think the park is really popular,” he said. Because of that, midvalley residents “trust” the park and recreation district’s board of directors to manage funds responsibly. Secondly, midvalley residents don’t want to continue driving to indoor recreation facilities in other towns, he said.
The planning process must determine what type of amenities midvalley residents want in an indoor recreation facility and in what priority, Fuller said. The plan must also include a way to deliver a facility in a fiscally responsible way.
The planning process could theoretically be completed in time to seek voter approval next November for construction of a center, according to Fuller.
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