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Two new pools for Aspen?

John Colson

As things now stand, the plans for Aspen’s new recreational complex at Iselin Park call for two swimming pools, one ice rink of uncertain size, and a youth center sandwiched between the two facilities, all located across Maroon Creek Road from the public schools campus.

The two pools are needed in order to provide one relatively cool, 25-meter pool for “lap swimmers” and possibly competitive swim meets, and another, warmer pool for kids, recreational swimmers and therapy needs. Both should be capable of being opened to the outside air when desirable.

And the pools also should be built to accommodate scuba diving lessons and kayaking lessons.

At least, that was the general agreement of a group of approximately 25 people who met with city staffers and a group of consultants at City Hall Thursday night.

In addition, there was a suggestion that a nearby athletic field be flooded in winter to provide outdoor recreational skating at a venue larger than the Silver Circle rink in the center of town.

But that idea ran into immediate resistance from a neighbor of the planned facilities, who declared that a second sheet of ice would violate a promise made by the city.

“We were assured there would be no second sheet of ice at Iselin Park,” said Maroon Creek Caucus member Larry Slater, adding that the caucus wants “no sheet of ice. It’s noise, it’s lights … .”

The meeting was held to acquaint local users of the city’s existing pool and ice rink facilities with the preliminary ideas conjured up by a “design team” made up of consultants who have worked on such projects in other locales.

Among the ideas brought up at the meeting was a proposal to incorporate a “wave machine” into the end of the recreational swimming pool, which would be intended as a crowd pleaser and would provide a current against which the elderly and those needing “water therapy” could swim or walk.

Pool consultant Vic Davies also introduced the idea of incorporating a “beach area” against which the waves would wash, and a “lazy river” water feature that channels a current created by the waves and winds between walls of concrete off to one side of the pool.

Concerning the rink, there was considerable discussion among a group of hockey parents about how the locker rooms and changing facilities would be designed, and whether the sheet should be 200 feet by 100 feet (Olympic size) or 200 feet by 85 feet (National Hockey League size). It was pointed out that figure skaters and speed skaters would prefer the Olympic dimensions, while the hockey players favor the NHL size.

In the end, city recreation director Tim Anderson read off from his notes a list of suggestions, which he said will be incorporated into the evolving plans for the facilities.

Anderson said repeatedly that the design of the facilities remains in flux, and “nothing is set in stone.”


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