Craig Dave Pike expects to take the first step toward a community recreation center proposal in three weeks.
Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation Department director, plans to submit the first funding request for a community recreation center to the City Council at its May 13 meeting.
At the Community Recreation Center Steering Committee meeting Tuesday night, Pike told the group of about 25 what the next stages probably would look like.
Pike plans to request the Council approve $20,000 to hire Sink Combs Dethlefs, of Denver, to do initial architecture, financing and campaign work.
The community would decide what features - such as pools, gyms and teen areas - the recreation center would include, and Dethlefs would organize a cost for the ballot, Pike said. It also would do initial site analysis and architecture design.
The company is the same one hired for the 2003 recreation center proposal.
"If we use the same architects, we save a little bit of money," Pike said. "We've got a lot of footwork done already, and the architects have already done a lot of preliminary work" the last time the city contracted with them.
Pike said he met with Council members last week during a workshop, and they were favorable to the idea of looking at a recreation center proposal.
Councilor Terry Carwile, who attended the Steering Committee meeting, said he was supportive of the idea as well but could not comment on which way the Council would lean when it came to approving the money.
Where the money will come from also is not set in stone, Pike said. He plans to crunch his budget numbers - where he expects some surplus - and go from there.
"It may come down to a supplemental budget request," he said.
Jo Ann Baxter, Moffat County School Board member, said the School Board may be willing to support a recreation center ballot proposal, unlike its opposition to the measure in 2003.
The Moffat County High School swimming pool is more than 20 years old, she said. It leaks and costs the School District money every year.
Baxter said she would support a recreation center initiative.
The question of what funding will be proposed to pay for a recreation center also is up for debate.
Possibilities include, but are not limited to, a sales tax increase of half a cent or more, or a city lodging tax.
"One thing nice about (a city lodging tax)," Pike said, "the people here in the city won't have to pay for it."
A city lodging tax is only a thought, Carwile said. There has been no research or action taken.
To enact a city lodging tax, voters would have to approve repealing the current county lodging tax and pass a city tax.
A new face to Steering Committee meetings said he would support a recreation center proposal up and down.
Justin Wilensky, 33, moved to Craig with his wife and two children, ages 3 and 5, about two and a half years ago from Lafayette on the Front Range.
Lafayette built a recreation center in the late 1980s, he said, when he was in junior high school.
"I remember things kids were involved in before the rec center came, and then I remember the things kids were involved in after the rec center came," Wilensky said. "It was a big hit. It changed the community greatly."
He added he already has felt winter's depressing chill.
"We have long winters here," Wilensky said. "My kids go crazy locked up, and that drives my wife crazy and me crazy.
"I'm all for it. I'll help out as much as I can."
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or email@example.com