Public Input on Funding of New Rec Center Sought
by William Woody
Nov 16, 2013 | 1934 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ARCHITECTURAL RENDERING – The proposed Montrose Community Recreation Center to be built off Woodgate Road in Montrose. (Courtesy Montrose Recreation District)
ARCHITECTURAL RENDERING – The proposed Montrose Community Recreation Center to be built off Woodgate Road in Montrose. (Courtesy Montrose Recreation District)
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NEEDS WORK – The Montrose Aquatic Center’s filtration system. According to Montrose Rec District Executive Director Ken Sherbenou, it needs constant repair. A new ultra-violet system would avoid the need for chlorine in the pool, to sanitize the water. (Photo by William Woody)
NEEDS WORK – The Montrose Aquatic Center’s filtration system. According to Montrose Rec District Executive Director Ken Sherbenou, it needs constant repair. A new ultra-violet system would avoid the need for chlorine in the pool, to sanitize the water. (Photo by William Woody)
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Final Draft Plan to Be Presented Next Week

MONTROSE – A final plan for the funding and construction of a new community recreation center – and for the future of the Montrose Recreation District, is what MRD Executive Director Ken Sherbenou said will be discussed next week during a pair of public meetings. 

A new property tax versus a 0.2 percent sales tax increase are just a couple of "options" Sherbenou said will be debated by MRD staff and members of the public Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. at the Montrose Aquatic Center – and at 6 p.m. at Montrose High School cafeteria. 

MRD officials and board members will unveil a final project, site and facility plan for a new Community Recreation Center, to be built off Woodgate Road at a cost "modestly" close to the 2011 plan’s $22 million price tag, said Sherbenou.

A decision on the final proposal that goes to voters next spring "might come fairly quickly" after next week’s meetings, as the MRD continues to improve on ballot Measure A, which failed in 2012. Sherbenou said the mission now is to ask public meeting attendees “how to bridge the funding gap" to pay for the new CRC.

The 2012 Measure A called for a proposed 0.2 percent sales tax increase for 10 to 14 years to fund a new recreation center. The measure failed by 599 votes, or 2,971 to 2,372.

A few months after Measure A failed, MRD bought 26 acres off Woodgate Road (saving  $500,000 in the process, thanks to proceeds from from state lottery funds), and began aggressively saving and decreasing capital expenses in order to raise funds to help offset the public cost of a new CRC. 

Sherbenou said the projected cost of the CRC has increased slightly, due to an rise in construction costs. The new updated cost will be announced next week. 

Careful budgeting has allowed the district to increase its savings from 2012 to now by $375,829 (from $393,964 to $769,793), and decrease capital expenses by $157,915 (from $325,970 to $168,055). 

Residents will be apprised about the CRC project in a mailing next week, in which the district announces annual savings of $800,000 per year. Through an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Montrose allowing for shared services with the city, the MRD will save an additional $100,000 per year. 

The MRD will target a downpayment of $2 million towards the CRC; the difference between the downpayment and the to-be-announced total project costs is the amount the MRD plans to raise through possible new tax revenue, funding partnerships through various organizations and grants.

"We'll be asking specifically how we fill this gap in funding," Sherbenou said. "We’ll also talk about what partnerships are at the table to make this happen.”

Last month, Sherbenou told the Montrose County School Board the Montrose Aquatic Center is facing about $800,000 in basic repairs.

Throughout the year, Sherbenou has visited and delivered multiple presentations to the city council, civic groups and other organizations, explaining that Measure A failed because the plan "wasn't good enough." Now, he said, the MRD has "listened to the voters" and drafted a new plan to raise money while looking at ways to accommodate an increase in user participation through the district which is currently at a five-year high.

Sherbenou said the new CRC will meet the changing needs of the community as it grows over the next couple of decades. Although the district has the money to make the necessary repairs, Sherbenou told the board, "every single user group [has] said, ‘Don't spend that money.’”

 

PLAN CALLS FOR INDOOR TURF FIELD

The school board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the recreation district Tuesday at its monthly board meeting. That agreement calls for use of the aquatic center, which sits on property owned by the school district, as a recreation facility. Sherbenou told the board the pool area of the current aquatic center would become an indoor turf field, and that other renovations would be made for the school district’s active use, as well.  

Sherbenou said the $800,000 per year savings represents roughly one-third of the district's annual revenues, and that annual revenues generated from user fees at the CRC would pay for the facilities' operational costs.

Voters in Cortez in 2003, Fruita in 2008, Durango in 2001, Gunnison in 2006 and Delta in 1992 all passed tax increases of 1 percent, or greater, to fund new recreation centers.

 

To view the MRD master plan visit:

www.montroserec.com.

 

wwoody@watchnewspapers.com

Twitter.com/williamwoodyCO

williamwoody.net

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