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New Carbondale rec center wins raves

Stina Sieg
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Local residents Douglas Fanti and Lisa Olsen work out at the new Carbondale Recreation and Community Center on Saturday. (Kelley Cox/Post Independent)
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CARBONDALE ” Even in the smallest of towns, getting people on the same page about something isn’t always easy. On Saturday at the new Carbondale Recreation and Community Center, though, it was no problem at all.

The dozens of Carbondale residents participating in the free preview weekend looked to be in agreement: The center is simply a good thing.

“I think it’s pretty,” said Lily Wolfe Webber. “Pretty, pretty.”



The 4-year-old was playing basketball with her father in the large, airy indoor court. Like the rest of the building, the gym has high ceilings and large skylights illuminating the place.

According to dad Mark Wolfe Webber, 46, it’s what he’s been waiting for since moving to Carbondale 19 years ago.




“We’re trying to catch up to Glenwood Springs,” he said, with a chuckle. “We’ve been looking forward to this.”

“Isn’t this place great?” Stacy Evans asked him right then. “I’m so excited about it!”

Evans, 27, was starting her first day providing on-site child care. A Carbondale resident most of her life, she sees the building as a real boon to youngsters in particular.

“I just had this vision of young kids coming here to hang out,” she said. “It’s such a positive way to spend your time. You’re not bored.”

Next door, Pedro Palomo, 36, was pumping weights in the exercise room, which also houses a climbing wall. For him, the center means he won’t be paying as much as he did at a local gym. It also gives his son, Brian, 6, a chance to play basketball, which he “loves,” Palomo said.

“I like it,” he continued. “It’s wonderful, because Glenwood has one (a recreation center) and Aspen has one. Carbondale needs one.”

In the lobby, manager Eric Brendlinger held up a brochure.

“We are this,” he said, pointing to the word “recreation.”

He then put his finger under “community,” adding, “We are also this.”

For him, the excitement is two-fold. For one, the building can be used as a multipurpose center, with the lobby and gym converting into party or concert areas, if need be. Also, perhaps more importantly, the entire building was built as “green” as it could be. It was constructed according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, a nationally recognized benchmark. In practical terms, that means a myriad of Earth-friendly improvements, from a reduction in water usage to implementing of light switches that turn off on their own.

Only a local resident since June, Brendlinger wasn’t sure about the history of the effort to get this place off the ground, but did know many of the players involved. He mentioned the help of Jeff Jackel, Parks and Recreation Director. The architect was John Baker, with Joani Matranga serving as energy consultant. Alongside town bond money, funds were provided by the Gates Family Foundation, Alpine Bank and the Department of Local Affairs.

With classes, long hours and more amenities to come, Brendlinger was confident about the center’s place in Carbondale.

“I think we have something for everyone,” he said.

Gary Rubin, 70, and his buddy, Marty Manosevitz, 72, both of Missouri Heights, cycled on stationary bikes as they offered their take on the new facility, contrasting it to the dark, sweaty gyms of their youth. One dubbed it a “beautiful facility.” The other called it “long overdue.”

“Here’s the bottom line,” Rubin concluded. “After we’ve enjoyed Carbondale’s best restaurants, we come here and work it off.”

ssieg@postindependent.com