Craig In November, Craig residents may again vote on a proposed sales tax increase for a new recreation center.
City residents voted the issue down in 2003, when the proposal included sales and use taxes to finance an approximate $12 million project.
The Recreation Center Steering Committee met Thursday night to go over the campaign ahead and how it will likely differ from the last time a recreation center appeared on a ballot.
The new project would likely cost less, but decisions for the exact ballot question and tax proposal are a little ways out, said Dave Pike, city Parks and Recreation Department director. The Steering Committee is considering a three-quarter cent sales tax increase.
Specific details on the new project's plans, costs or timeline have not been decided. Pike plans to bring some preliminary plans to the Craig City Council in March, he said.
"We don't know if that's the magic number," Pike said. "I'm pretty sure a half cent won't build what we want to build, and I'm pretty sure a penny is asking too much of the community."
The impetus for bringing the issue back: The city's recent citizen survey came back with 63 percent indicating support for a sales tax to fund an indoor recreation center.
Pike said he believes people are more comfortable now than five years ago because of the relative health in the current local economy.
"The last time we went through this process, the county was kind of in a bad way," Pike said. "The timing was bad. Now we seem to be in kind of a growth spurt. The outlook is pretty positive."
The project likely will need to be scaled back from the 2003 proposal, Pike added. For that project, the Steering Committee put all the things they wanted in a big package and asked for enough money to pay for it all.
Whereas the previous project was akin to someone going out for a Cadillac and looking at prices when he or she gets there, this year's will operate within a budget, Pike said.
"This time, we're going to say we really need to get a mid-sized family car that costs this much," he said. "What that's going to entail is we won't be able to afford all the amenities we planned five years ago."
The citizen survey polled residents on certain features that aren't typical to most recreation centers, Pike told the committee. At the bottom of the list were an indoor shooting range and community meeting rooms.
Those will likely be scratched.
On the flip side, 72 percent of respondents said it was "essential or very important" the project include a teen center.
"I think most people in this town agree," Pike said, "the reason we have so many problems with our teens - especially with drug use - it's because we don't have things for our teens to do."
Support for a senior center also was favorable, coming in at 58 percent.
The future still is very much up in the air.
Pike and Jim Duran, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member, plan to meet with the Colorado Northwestern Community College Board of Control on possible arrangements to build the center where The Memorial Hospital and CNCC are building their expansions.
The 2003 plans would have had the center built in that area, also.
Gene Bilodeau, CNCC Craig campus dean and Craig city councilor, attended the Thursday meeting.
His feeling regarding the Board of Control's plans was that it would be open to the project, and even have a possible 14-acre site on the southwest corner of the overall lot that the recreation center could occupy.
"The Board was looking at keeping this until the folks of Moffat County realize the wisdom of a recreation center," Bilodeau said.