Rec Center Committee to seek citizen initiative

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— The Community Recreation Center Steering Committee decided to take a new direction after its meeting Wednesday.

"I think we're moving in the right direction," committee member Erin Miller said.

In part, because of a new decision to earn the public's trust.

The Steering Committee wants any tax-funded recreation center ballot question to come as a decision of the people.

Starting in a few months, the group will organize a petition to put a recreation center on an upcoming ballot as a citizen initiative.

Without the people's support, the campaign will not seek a vote.

"We feel that if it's citizen-mandated, then people will know that this is not something the city is trying to do, but something that we really want," Miller said.

Dave Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation Department director, said he was fully supportive of the measure.

"A lot of people have this misconception that this is something the city is trying to build," he said. "It's really not."

To get a petition circulated around town will require a lot of work and volunteers, Miller said.

To get the public on board, she added, will take a good case.

"I feel it's going to take some real education (for the public about what we plan), and I hope we get some more people involved on the Steering Committee," Miller said. "I'm still enthusiastic about it."

It could not be verified by press time what requirements are for a citizen initiative to land on a Craig ballot.

However, the Craig City Charter states local election laws follow the laws of the state. In Colorado, a citizen initiative requires 5 percent of the number of voters who voted for all candidates for the secretary of state office in the last general election.

The Steering Committee plans to meet next at 7 p.m. July 7 at City Hall. Representatives from Sink Combs Dethlefs, the Denver-based firm contracted to consult with the Steering Committee, plan to attend.

Miller and Pike stressed there are a lot of discussions to be had and decisions to make before a recreation center campaign gets under way, such as how much to spend on a facility, what features to include and when to pursue a ballot question.

They said they would like to see as many people as can make the meeting come to either support the project or ask questions.

Miller herself is eager to start.

She worked for the Greely Recreation Department some years ago when that town first opened a tax-funded recreation center and said that experience was all she needs to know another one would be great for Craig.

"I feel pretty passionately about our community having a rec center," she said. "It was a great thing for (Greely) and really helped turn some things around."

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

Comments

grannyrett 6 years, 5 months ago

What don't they understand? Four years ago, we told them NO. Now, the economy is worse, we just gave them tax money to build a new hospital and a new school, and they want more for a REC Center? Are they nuts? More money for a playground for those that can afford to use it? 50cal has it right---a petition against it.

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xrsareus 6 years, 5 months ago

Again, they are putting the cart before the horse. If they want get a petition out, and find out nobody in their right mind want a new rec. center, and then if they have enough signatures then hire a consultant. That is like buying a car without a test drive, if you don't like it you can't take it back..... and you have spent OH let me say $20,000.00 for nothing.

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AltitudeAdjustment 6 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone know how many teams decided not to come for tripple crown softball so far this year due to the high price of gas? I heard it was somewhere around 30 on this last tournament so they had to cancel. If higher gas prices (and other prices) keep people from traveling, and as it would appear, the economy around the country slows down, are less people likely to travel/vacation/hunt in Northwest Colorado? If that is the case, and we get slapped with a bunch of regulations that slows energy exploration, how will sales/lodging taxes adequitly supply the necessary funds to finance a recreation center? They will have to offset these losses with high monthly membership rates and daily use rates inorder to keep the doors open, which will cause the average family not to go. Thoughts????

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50cal 6 years, 5 months ago

irish, I can believe your irish I'm agreeing with you lets work together. if you want to vent go ahead these forums get stuffy with only serious comments.

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irishbrat 6 years, 5 months ago

I concur....this is ridiculous. Finish the damn hospital and the school first before nailing us with this. The economy is in pretty bad shape right now but nail the people with more taxes...that will fix it. ARRGHHH!!. I have to shut up now before i get mouthy..

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50cal 6 years, 5 months ago

someone help me, lets get a petition going to NOT have a rec center built. Here you have another two people who are not elected deciding what to do with your tax dollars

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John Kinkaid 6 years, 5 months ago

Yes, with a very deep recession beginning and inflation just starting to sky rocket, let's take on more taxes and more public debt.

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irishbrat 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm not trying to tell people what they should or shouldn't do with their tax dollars, I just know where I don't want mine to go to. Sorry if you took that the wrong way or maybe i took your comment the wrong way.

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irishbrat 6 years, 5 months ago

50-I took your previous comment the wrong way. I like to vent, i know the forums get stuffy and somewhat nasty at times. I don't care, I say what I want oh and thanks for agreeing with me.

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50cal 6 years, 5 months ago

Don't forget colowyo digging into Rio Blanco Altitude. this is going to end up hurting the residents if the economy does go south. It seems like the government in colorado is doing their best to slow down any attempt to explore for energy on the western slope while putting up wind farms on the eastern slope. where will this leave us when so many new residents move on?

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grannyrett 6 years, 5 months ago

What the city hasn't said, and will never say, is that on top of a tax increase to pay for a rec center, you will have to pay membership dues to use it. How many can pay $100-$200 a month to go use a rec center? So, on top of whatever they add to your taxes, it will still be too expensive for the average joe/jane to use. As the majority--baby boomers--age, how many of them will use it. They want to tax 10,000 people to build something that maybe 200 people will ever use. NUTS!

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John Kinkaid 6 years, 5 months ago

I believe that it would be accurate to say that the red tiles on the exterior wall facing the street on the city pool complex have been missing for over a decade now. The gaps are painted red. That's pretty pathetic.

A few weeks ago I played tennis on the city courts. Let me explain the new court surface. It's like running and making quick cuts and turns on a wrestling mat that is coated with a hard resin. It's lame.

How about keeping what we already have in tip top shape?

Don't even get me started on the Ridgeview to Murdochs walking trail. Dead animals. No landscaping. No benchs. No effort, imagination or thought has been put into it at all. Check out a Steamboat walking trail sometime and compare the difference. But we a traffic light!

Kudos to the County.....commissioners on down for getting us refridgeration and a better exterior structure for the ice rink many years ago. Loudy-Simpson park is well taken care of.

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grannyrett 6 years, 5 months ago

Years ago, my son was a coach for a Craig soccer team. I went to more games than most parents did. The only thing I ever saw that needed improved was a need for seating. Most of us took our own chairs or sat on the grass. jasonbourne has it right. Lets fix what we have. The county/city has a track record of wanting big/getting it/letting it fall apart. Wave pool-swimming pool is good example. BIG draw for little town. Well, it may be, but if it isn't taken care of, it won't draw people. BOCC said that it didn't need urgent repairs. Why do they have to wait till it's urgent. I had a very wise father who said that an oil change was cheaper than a new car---maintenance is cheaper than replacement. It's like raising kids---if they won't take care of what they have, why should they get something new?

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50cal 6 years, 5 months ago

geez I cannot believe this is being questioned. what we need is a great big rec center so the kids will have a safe place to drink and the elders have a warm place to swim. at the rate buildings seem to fall down around here we would only need to rebuild a rec center every fifteen years. thats gotta be better than maintaining one. you wouldn't even have to pay for a maintainance man. schools last only fifty so this might make it twenty.

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irishbrat 6 years, 5 months ago

It's all theowls fault!!!! I think the city should build us a new drive in, tax free of course...some could consider that a rec center.

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50cal 6 years, 5 months ago

I recreated at the drive in a time or two when it was open, thats a good idea. Damn owl!

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freeman 6 years, 5 months ago

how bout if we talk the city into repainting city market first

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grannyrett 6 years, 5 months ago

freeman--How bout city market paints city market.

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50cal 6 years, 5 months ago

no no, I think freemans right maybe they could get a grant. I'll bet 20,000 would just about cover it. If the city painted it maybe the teenagers would have a safe place to drink.

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wolfshadoww 6 years, 5 months ago

I've been following this a little bit through articles and the commenting- we have a nice rec center in Rangely that was built during the boom of the late 80's and now it is falling apart so we are having to find money to rebuild. It is one of the best things this community has and a lot of people take pride in it. It doesn't cost an annual fee (and holy crap I hope the city of Craig doesn't do something like to you folks!) It doesn't cost a lot to go up and go for a swim, use the RB courts, weight room, cardio room or any of that. Most of the companies actually pay for passes for their employees and many use it. Lots of people just show up and "sign in". You can buy punch passes. You can just pay when you go in and use it.

Our rec center also runs youth summer programs- t-ball, little league, adult softball, college for kids (where they get to do different activities whether they be nature hikes, painting, etc.) There are water aerobics, swim lessons, etc., etc., and they even host our annual event Septemberfest along with various activities that will be held tomorrow during the 4th of July.

Before Meeker got their new rec center, they drove the hour to come and use ours. It's one of the few things our little town has that can help keep the kids out of trouble. (Kids will be kids unfortunately). Young and old, utilize the facility. I can't think of one bad thing about having it here. I understand that a lot of tax dollars are coming out of Craig resident's pockets for the new hospital and school, but these are things your community needs and deserves!

But the more I'm reading your comments, it appears that no one takes care of the facilities in Craig and this makes me sad. Or perhaps this is just a sign of the times? It's hard to get money to or grants for the western slope in our state.

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grannyrett 6 years, 5 months ago

wolfshadoww-It's only 25 or so years old and it's falling apart? Upkeep, Upkeep, upkeep. It costs money. The need for money doesn't stop when the building is done. If they aren't charging enough to keep it in good working order, then it just becomes a money pit. The people of Craig just gave themselves two new money pits and now some are pushing for more. The bottom is falling out of the stock market, fuel costs are going into orbit and show no sign of slowing down. Craig is the highest place in 4 states I have been in this summer. People here have been raped at the gas pumps for years. I'll bet that someone will freeze to death this coming winter because they can't afford the high fuel prices. There are more and more people living on a limited income--retired--and they CAN'T do more. Why doesn't some one from the paper go talk to senior citizens who are still lucky??? enough to be able to live in their own homes. See how much more they can take.

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wolfshadoww 6 years, 5 months ago

I think it's older than 25 years but the problem was building on not-so-solid of a foundation.

But you do make an excellent point- and all of that oil and gas and drilling we do.... doesn't even stay here. Someone needs to rape the people make the fuel costs go up because this is getting out of hand!

Gas is always high in Craig-- we're usually 10 cents higher or 10 cents less. Just depends. I once actually filled up my tank in Craig because it was cheaper than Rangely.

As far as asking the citizens for the money to build a rec center in Craig- I believe it was very poor timing. Not that the community doesn't need or deserve one, the timing is just not good at all!

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