Rec District Wins Grant for Master Plan
by Peter Shelton
Jun 16, 2013 | 1385 views | 0 0 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend | print

DOLA Money Will Help Plan Woodgate Facilities

MONTROSE – Two weeks ago, at its regular board meeting, the Montrose Recreation District voted unanimously to create a Master Plan for its recently acquired 26-acre parcel at Woodgate and Ogden roads in southeast Montrose.

The plan will be paid for, “up to half of the $40-43,000 total,” according to MRD Executive Director Ken Sherbenou, by a grant from DOLA, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The other half will come out of the Recreation District’s consulting fund.

“The Master Plan will be a foundation to determine what is going to be built over time on that site,” Sherbenou said. “Foremost will be a Community Recreation Center.” But the plan will also “figure out” the site as far as orienting the CRC, siting outdoor facilities, ball fields, parking lots, access drives, etc. “We’ve got plenty of space out there,” Sherbenou said.

First up, Sherbenou said, once the Master Plan is complete – by November, if all goes well – is to apply for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant to develop the outdoor amenities. “GOCO doesn’t fund indoor facilities,” Sherbenou said. With a detailed design of Phase 1 outdoor facilities, MRD will be able to offer the appraised value of the property ($390,000) as a cash match for the GOCO proposal. MRD paid $299,888, out of cash savings (“No tax dollars,” Sherbenou stressed), for the 26 acres in December 2012.

The master planning process will begin immediately and will involve an MRD Board appointed Citizen and Partner Advisory Panel. This group will be comprised of key stakeholders including representation from several private, nonprofit and public entities. One major goal of this group will be to facilitate partnerships with other agencies that desire direct involvement in the project.

Working with the Citizen and Partner Advisory Panel, as well as MRD Board and staff, will be a project team headed by two principal authors of a 2011 rec center feasibility study that was well received in Montrose but lacked a specific building site: Chuck Musgrave, from Barker Rinker Seacat, an architecture firm specializing in recreation center design, which has built numerous rec centers on the Western Slope, including the ones in Gunnison, Cortez and Durango; and John Barnholt from GreenPlay LLC, a firm specializing in operational planning for rec centers, who worked on the plans for the centers in Fruita and Rifle, among others around the U.S.

Also on the team will be John Eloe, an architect practicing in Montrose, who will bring Western Slope design and local site and code expertise to the project, and Julee Wolverton, a Montrose landscape architect, who will be taking the lead in creating the outdoor-facility plans. Doug Whitaker, of Aquatic Design, will be doing further design of the aquatic components of the CRC.

Architect Eloe said of the Board vote, “Now that we have an actual site, we can begin the process of molding the design to fit both the new Montrose partners we hope will join the process as well as the community feel of Montrose.”

Board President Kevin Davis agreed. “The addition of the Woodgate land into the project has been positively received by the community, for its price, its location, and its potential to become a real community hub benefiting the quality of life in Montrose. Now, we need to apply the CRC plan to this site by completing this Master Plan.”

The 2011 CRC feasibility study was driven by a Citizen Task Force that identified the recreational needs of the community and came up with a 72,000 square foot rec center costing an estimated $21 million. That basic design will be incorporated into the Woodgate site Master Plan.

Sherbenou said the rec district would likely go back to DOLA for funding help with the rec center proper once the outdoor facilities were underway. But, he stressed, “There will still be a funding gap. I don’t know of any rec center in Colorado built without public dollars.”

MRD’s proposal for a 0.2 percent sale tax increase to fund the CRC failed at the polls in April 2012.

“Fruita, Gunnison, Delta all enacted 1.0 percent sales tax increases” to get their rec centers built, Sherbenou said. “Fruita did get $1.5 million in help from DOLA.”

The Woodgate Property Master Plan will also spell out a new strategy for financing. The MRD Board has directed that a greater focus be placed on non-tax funding through grants, such as the DOLA grant, as well as fundraising through the recently created Montrose Recreation Foundation and the One-Duck-at-a-Time capital campaign.

Sherbenou’s enthusiasm for the goal was further stoked, he said, by a comment from Delta City Manager Justin Clifton, who described his city’s rec center as “a gem of the community.”

“That’s what our Community Recreation Center will be,” Sherbenou said, “the jewel of Montrose.”

Contact: Ken Sherbenou, MRD Executive Director, ksherbenou@montroserec.com, 970/249-7705; Kevin Davis, Board President, kevydavis@gmail.com, 970/596-4108; or Jason Ullmann, Board Member, Growth Committee, ullmannjt@gmail.com, 970/497-9716.

pshelton@watchnewspapers.com

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