Planners amend rec center proposal

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Speaking with their stickers, residents' input at a public meeting last month has apparently altered early plans for a local recreation center.

City planners and hired architects with the proposed taxpayer-driven project said Wednesday that an elevated running and walking track will be incorporated into conceptual designs -- none of which have a solid price tag or finance scheme.

" We want to come back to the community with the whole package in June," said Andy Barnard, architect with the firm Sink Combs Dethlefs, which was hired by a local steering committee to plan the recreation center.

" It (the elevated track) had been a point of discussion, but we

had never really seen the interest that we saw at that meeting," Barnard added.

Voters in the November general election will decide the fate of the proposed two-floor, 52,000-plus square-foot facility.

Participants at the end of a March 12 recreation center public meeting were asked to prioritize desired amenities. People placed blue and red stickers -- indicating support or opposition -- on the various amenities as described on early floor plans, or listed as possible additions.

Sixteen blue stickers indicated support for the indoor track option -- easily the most feedback on any item.

Other changes suggested March 12 included the expansion of a proposed lower-level shooting range, the inclusion of a climbing wall and the elimination of a possible teen game room.

But community wants on many of those amenities remain fickle and, on some points, divided, Barnard said.

" We're still trying to understand and work through what the public had to say," he said.

Dave Pike, city of Craig Parks and Recreation director, said the recreation center's steering committee still does not have projected annual operation costs, revenues or public dollars needed to support the facility.

Construction is estimated at about $11 million, while planners have proposed funding the facility through a combination of government and foundation grants, community fund-raising and proposed tax increases.

The recreation center would be built on land owned by Colorado Northwestern Community College west of Moffat County Road 7.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com

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