Midvalley recreation center avoids November ballot | AspenTimes.com

Midvalley recreation center avoids November ballot

Janet Urquhart/The Aspen TimesCrown Mountain Park in El Jebel boasts playing fields, outdoor courts, a dog park and playground, but a recreation center remains a future goal. A tax increase for a center won't be on this November's ballot.

EL JEBEL – The backers of a midvalley recreation center decided it was too risky to ask voters to approve a property tax increase this year because of tough economic times.

The Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District’s board of directors declined to put a question on the November ballot seeking funding for the long-discussed recreation center, according to Mark Fuller, a consultant working with the district.

“It was a combination of things – one of them was obviously the economy,” Fuller said.

While a survey showed widespread support for an indoor facility at the popular park in El Jebel, Crown Mountain officials and other supporters of the recreation center weren’t sure a property tax increase would garner approval at this time, he said.

The Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District stretches from Old Snowmass to the Eagle-Garfield county line in the valley floor, and includes portions of the Fryingpan River Valley and Missouri Heights.

Other local taxing districts are hoping voters will approve tax increases despite the slow recovery from recession. The Aspen School District will seek a $1.2 million increase in taxes for school operations to offset an anticipated loss of state money.

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Aspen Valley Hospital will seek approval to issue $50 million in bonds to help renovate its facility, with a property tax increase to pay off the bonds.

City of Aspen residents will vote on a proposed 1 percent lodging tax to raise funds for marketing.

Town of Snowmass Village voters will be asked if they support a $2 million tax increase between 2011 and 2017 to help with the purchase of the Droste property as open space.

A second proposal to increase the mill levy in Snowmass Village would raise $357,000 annually from 2011 through 2015 for transportation services and equipment.

Fuller said the recreation district’s decision not to roll the dice at the polls this year wasn’t entirely related to the economy. There is also more planning to accomplish. Officials must determine what amenities the recreation center will offer and how big the facility will be, and a plan must be approved by Eagle County.

“We didn’t feel we were ready to go to the public with a fully developed plan,” Fuller said.

The recreation district continues to work with consultants, and it intends to get a proposal for a center in front of constituents this winter. The goal is to get a ballot question to voters in November 2011, Fuller said.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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