Midvalley rec center won’t seek funds to build just yet | AspenTimes.com

Midvalley rec center won’t seek funds to build just yet

EL JEBEL – Supporters of a midvalley recreation center announced last week they won’t approach voters in November for funding to build the facility.

Instead, a group called Friends of the Crown Mountain Recreation Center will seek voter approval in November for a small, one-year property tax increase to raise funds to complete planning for the recreation center, according to Mark Fuller, a consultant with the group.

The group decided the timing was wrong to pursue funds to build the facility for a variety of reasons – one being the recession.

“The current economic climate, in conjunction with the recent property reassessments, argues against requesting significant tax increases at this time,” said a newsletter e-mailed by the group.

Fuller said proponents believe a compelling case can be made to support funding the center, even during an economic downturn. The tax increase would be relatively small per household. A centralized facility in El Jebel would save parents the gas money from driving themselves and their kids to various recreational pursuits throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, he said.

Nevertheless, “the perception of seeking a major tax increase in the current economic climate” would risk failure at an election, Fuller said.

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The recreation center is expected to cost millions of dollars to build and an unknown amount to operate. Exact costs haven’t been determined, so that’s another reason to delay a request to voters, the group determined.

A third argument against seeking funding came from the property owners. The rec center supporters want to build on land owned by Eagle County adjacent to Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. The commissioners want to see a comprehensive design and site details before a land-use application is approved. That process takes time.

So instead of seeking funds to build a facility, proponents will seek funds to plan a facility. Fuller said the amount sought will be “a fraction of a mil,” which is the measurement used to levy property taxes. The revenues will be sought for one year. Voters in the existing Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District will be asked to approve the modest increase to the district’s operating budget for one year to raise the planning funds, Fuller said.

Information about the Friends of the Crown Mountain Recreation Center can be found at http://www.midvalleyreccenter.com.

scondon@aspentimes.com