Midvalley can weigh in on rec center

Scott CondonAspen, CO Colorado

It’s crunch time for a possible recreation center in the midvalley.Midvalley residents will be surveyed over the next few days to see if they want a recreation center and, most important, if they are willing to pay for it.The survey results will determine if exploration of the idea continues or is abandoned, Bill Reynolds, executive director of the Mid Valley Metropolitan District said Friday.The Mid Valley Metro District is working on the concept of the recreation center with the Crown Mountain Recreation District. They formed a steering committee and hired a recreation consulting firm called GreenPlay to explore the idea. This survey is the first major effort by the group to gauge public opinion.”The feedback the steering committee is hearing is, ‘About time,'” Reynolds said. He is hopeful the survey results will be the first block in a foundation that leads to a facility.The survey was being mailed Friday from Boulder. It will likely arrive in the mailboxes of midvalley homeowners today and Tuesday. Renters won’t receive it, but they will get a chance to weigh in during future public meetings, Reynolds said.The survey is being sent to residential property owners in El Jebel, Basalt, Missouri Heights and Old Snowmass. Homeowners within a 15-minute drive to El Jebel are being targeted, but surveys are being sent as far away as Thomasville, up the Fryingpan Valley.The steering committee is urging respondents to complete the survey and mail it back, or to go online and complete it. A sample survey included such questions as what recreation facilities do respondents use now and what facilities would they use. The options include everything from an indoor pool and a sheet of ice, to an arts and crafts room and child care.The survey also asks two vital questions on finances – would respondents support a tax increase to build a rec center, and would they support a tax increase to operate it. Responses will be anonymous.Although Mid Valley Metro provides water and sewer service, it also has the legal ability to get involved in recreation issues. The district has undeveloped land in the El Jebel area, and its board of directors wanted to see what civic uses it could accommodate there. One idea is a community and recreation center.Crown Mountain Park, which will have its grand opening this spring after years of planning and construction, is another possible location. The park features outdoor recreation and sports facilities like ballfields, tennis and basketball courts, a playground, picnic areas, trails and a dog park.Midvalley voters approved a property tax increase to build the park earlier this decade. The plan didn’t include an indoor facility, which is why it is coming up in a new process.If the survey results indicate broad support for an indoor facility, a thorough analysis of several sites will be one of the steps in the planning process.Reynolds said a recreation center that opened last year in Gypsum could be a model for the mid-Roaring Fork Valley. GreenPlay helped build a $13 million facility.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is