Recreation center studied by midvalley enthusiasts | AspenTimes.com

Recreation center studied by midvalley enthusiasts

Some midvalley officials are exploring if the time is right to construct a recreation center in the Basalt/El Jebel area after seeing the popularity of facilities in Aspen and Glenwood Springs.The Mid Valley Metropolitan District’s board of director’s has established a steering committee to study the idea, according to district executive director Bill Reynolds. “We’re early on in the research phase,” he said.Although Mid Valley Metro is a water and sanitation district, it is also authorized to spend funds on recreation amenities. In reality, Reynolds said, constructing and operating a recreation center would require his district’s teamwork with several other entities, including Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District and the town of Basalt.”What we’re doing is creating a midvalley community,” Reynolds said.The town of Basalt runs the only existing recreation program in the midvalley. Crown Mountain is developing a top-notch park in El Jebel that will make its official debut in spring 2007 with ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts and a state-of-the-art playground. The district’s funding and plans don’t include an indoor recreation center.Reynolds hopes to convene the steering committee before Thanksgiving and get a report back quickly on what amenities are wanted, the cost of a facility and how it would be funded and operated.Reynolds said he personally believes it behooves residents of the midvalley to explore the issues now since the cost of a large community facility will only go up. The steering committee will probably want to survey midvalley residents to find out what amenities they want in a center, according to Reynolds.He said it makes sense to consider amenities like an aquatic area with both a deep water pool for swimming laps and a recreational area. Another focus would likely be a gym with exercise equipment and possibly a running track.”What comes to mind is Gypsum,” said Reynolds. “The Gypsum Recreation Center is a wonderful asset for their community.”The town of Gypsum and a recreation district there turned a “pie in the sky dream” into a 57,000-square-foot recreation center for $12.2 million. The funding for that center is covered, in large part, by a voter-approved 1 percent sales tax.That facility doesn’t include a sheet of ice, which Reynolds said some midvalley residents might push for in the long term. He envisions a facility that also offers meeting space for classes, seniors activities and community meetings.Mark Fuller, a consultant with the Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District, said that organization’s governing board is interested in cooperatively exploring the idea of an indoor recreation center with Mid Valley Metro District. Crown Mountain has no plan of its own to pursue that type of facility.”We’ve got our hands full trying to get a park up and running,” said Fuller, who will represent Crown Mountain on the new steering committee.Like Reynolds, Fuller identified location and funding as the two biggest issues facing the steering committee. Two sites have been eyed for such a facility. One is land owned by Mid Valley Metro near its sanitation plant between the Blue Lake and Dakota subdivisions. Another is on the old Mount Sopris Tree Farm property adjacent to Crown Mountain Park.Reynolds said the public will hear more about the ideas as the steering committee starts studying specific.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com