Council approves $20K for rec center studies

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— Voters deserve a chance to hear the facts and make an educated decision, Craig City Councilor Gene Bilodeau said.

By that virtue, the council voted Tuesday to approve $20,000 in supplemental funding to contract a series of community recreation center studies.

The measure passed, 6 to 1, with Councilor Joe Herod casting the opposing vote.

Herod said he made his decision because he thought the money being used for recreation center studies should be used to repair problems at the City Park wave pool.

The council plans to pass a final resolution - making its decision official - at its next meeting May 26.

City officials will contract with Sink Combs Dethlefs, of Denver, which will, among other duties, coordinate community meetings and assess feedback on wants and needs regarding a recreation center.

The Denver firm also will prepare preliminary site plans, a site layout, prepare a business model for construction, operations and maintenance and assemble a financial team to calculate taxpayer costs.

"I was very surprised (the recreation center proposal) didn't pass" in 2003, Bilodeau said, who added he publicly supported the 2003 tax proposal. "I think we actually owe the voters another chance. I think some other issues came on that we absolutely had no control over."

City Manager Jim Ferree agreed with at least the end of Bilodeau's statement. He told the council that in 2003 the county was in financial trouble and other parts of the community seemed to face economic strains and uncertain futures.

City residents voted down a recreation center proposal in 2003, when the project included sales and use taxes to finance an approximate $12 million project.

However, differences between 2003 and now did not convince the council that a new tax proposal was justified.

"There's a little bit of apprehension to fund something the voters said no on," Councilor Bill Johnston said. "I personally need to have a feeling that something is going to be different."

Dave Pike, city Parks and Recreation Department director, said one other incentive would be the city's citizen survey, mailed to residents in December. In that survey, 63 percent of respondents indicated they would support tax increases to fund a community recreation center.

Johnston remarked that Pike had received the same backing in a different survey just before the 2003 election.

However, Pike said, the city's most recent survey was scientifically based and statistically responsible, keeping track of respondents' age and weighting responses to match Craig demographics. By comparison, the 2003 study was a random sampling.

Pike added he hopes recreation center supporters will do a better job of educating the public about benefits and costs than they did in 2003.

Councilors Johnston and Byron Willems said their experience with trying to educate voters to pass increased property taxes for the Craig Rural Fire Protection District proved that the more education voters have, the more likely they will see valid reasons behind an initiative.

Johnston is the Craig Fire/Rescue chief and Willems serves on the Fire Protection District board.

Pike said he aims to do more research this time around and possibly create a city parks and recreation plan, which would coordinate a recreation center with the pools at City Park and other city features.

Then, he said he would be able to answer the questions that residents likely will have.

"And if those reasons aren't good enough," Pike said, "there is no reason for us to move forward."

Comments

Taylor 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm with Joe Herod, I think $20K should be used to repair the wave pool (or something else we already have) rather than waste it on a STUDY. Ridiculous waste of money. If a sudy is needed, then study it, not hire a firm from Denver. I will be at the May 26th CC meeting to oppose this waste.

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Globe 6 years, 7 months ago

What the F is the STUDY for? Why would a study cost twenty THOUSAND dollars? You might as well P down a rat hole. This study group is going to take a trip to Mexico, live it up for a week and then come back with a simple yes or no. A chimp can do this. What a huge waste of money. This is why we will never be able to get stuff done like in the days of old. The sad thing is is the fact that the idiot who orders the study will come back with a "... well you don't know how complicated this process is..." of course it's complicated, and you just made it more complicated when you bought into the idea you need someone to study the idea. I am all for a Rec Center, but use the 20K for the raquet ball courts and not just give it to some guy who is going to throw darts at a board and pick whatever he hits as what he will tell you.

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taxslave 6 years, 7 months ago

i agree with you Taylor, enough is enough. I'll be there too.

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taxslave 6 years, 7 months ago

May I add that diesel hit $4.49/gal yesterday and gas $3.89. Do these people truly believe we can keep on going like this? Where is all this money going to come from. Wages aren't going up, just the cost of living is.

If they want this let them build and pay for it themselves and sell memberships. Step out your front doors people and you'll see a great recreation center...Moffat County.

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50cal 6 years, 7 months ago

one way or another they will push it down everyones throat. like they have everything else keep putting it up for a vote year after year until they get it. the people of this county still own the hospital. if they want to have a rec center we should build one on the old site and use the old building for a new rec center. they say they don't know what to do with it anyway.

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lonelyone 6 years, 7 months ago

I said just a couple weeks ago when they started talking about this, that I can't believe we're going to go through this again! I didn't get a survey in Dec to fill out..............oh but wait, I don't live in the city, so my voice doesn't count, but my money sure as heck does. Joe, please keep talking to these guys. We can't afford any more tax increases right now nor can we afford for the City to spend 20K on a study.

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50cal 6 years, 7 months ago

lonelyone, thats the benifit of living outside of the city limits. We get taxation without represention. oh well i'm sure when it comes right down to it the county will jump right in there as well and we won't feel left out.

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csualum 6 years, 7 months ago

Thank you Joe Herod for being the lone voice of reason. This money SHOULD be utilized elsewhere and repairs at the pool are just one example. I'm sure there are other city facilities that could stand some repair or upgrade. We have two health and fitness centers, school facilities and like taxslave said...the great outdoors. I don't know who is going to use this facility, but probably not all the young people that play video games four hours a day. If the Parks and Rec Department wants a rec center so badly, they should do the research themselves. They should involve other like interested community members and professionals and put together a plan.
I personally think the community needs an animal shelter. If you've ever been to our local facility you know what an abysmal place it is. This is an issue that is important to me. Try to convince the city of this and they want a proposal, numbers and a plan to pay for it. And who do they want to come up with all this? The animal control officers - presumably on their own time.
There is no consistency here. I bet if the city were approaced about doling out some money to do a feasibility study for an animal shelter, they would laugh (politely of course).

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csualum 6 years, 7 months ago

Globe - the study is so that no one on the local level has to take respnsibility. We missed the boat when we did not find a job with one of these consulting firms.

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xrsareus 6 years, 7 months ago

Since the Daily Press is suppose to have reporters and ask important questions about things that effect the citizens of Moffat County. I have a couple questions they could ask our city council.

  1. "The Denver firm also will prepare preliminary site plans, a site layout, prepare a business model for construction, operations and maintenance and assemble a financial team to calculate taxpayer costs."

Why in the hell would anyone pay to have site plans, layout and all of the other stuff done in the study without knowing if the taxpayers want a rec center???

  1. "Jim Ferree told the council that in 2003 the county was in financial trouble and other parts of the community seemed to face economic strains and uncertain futures."

Does Mr. Ferree and the city council think that this country and the taxpayer's are not facing economic strains and a uncertain future in 2008?

I would like to thank Mr. Herod for at least having some common sense. Does the rest of the council think the wave pool is going to fix it self? I am guessing the city could have done a mail out ballot or put the question on the November ballot for a lot less than $20,000.00 and would have had a clear answer. It would have made the taxpayers think they have a voice and that voice is being heard.

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taxslave 6 years, 7 months ago

It really is time for all of us to show up at the council meetings and ask some of our own questions and be our own watchdogs.

I have to wonder who exactly is benefiting from this 20K being sent to Denver.

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Taylor 6 years, 7 months ago

Hey - for $20K, I will personally knock on every door in Moffatt Co to ask the people if they want a Rec Center. If they do, I'll ask them how they would like to pay for it and if the majority are in favor, I'll even draw up some nice plans. Now that's a study.

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taxslave 6 years, 7 months ago

Hey Taylor, I'll back you up if you show up at the council meeting and ask for the job. I know architects,(licensed), artists, bldg. inspectors, Class A contractors, I know how to read, how to use the phone book & library. Fairly good on the internet too.

Do people in Denver have something we don't? If that's the case, I know how to drive.

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buck523 6 years, 7 months ago

While I can understand the frustration with the money being spent on the study...we must find something for our youth to do. Currently their biggest source of entertainment is a bonfire and beer. To help ease the cost, hit the hospital and the school district up for some help in funding this. The main thing is to find something for our youth to do that they will be proud of, have fun doing and be safe.

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Globe 6 years, 7 months ago

Yeah because big cities have rec centers and that really curbs the partying, gangs and juvie problems in cities? Are you serious? really?. Kids who drink, drink and a rec center isn't going to stop them from doing that. Everyone says there is nothing for our kids to do. When was the last time anyone actually looked around and made a list of what there is to do in Craig? For starters: 1. Trap club 2. gun club 3. hunting 4. fishing 5. hiking 6. skiing 7. Yampa River (canoe, raft, float, swim, fish) 8. snow shoeing 9. back country sking 10. Golf 11. Park and Rec sports (Baseball, basketball, football, Softball) 12. highschool athletics 13. Skate Park 14. Wave Pool 15. Parks, 16. Tennis Courts 17. Two fitness centers (that have almost everything a rec center will have) 18. Shadow Mountain pool 19. numerous concerts 20. numers plays 21. Choir 22. band 23. Drama 24. Speech and Debate 25. 4H (Fair) 26. Young Life 27. DECA 28. Bowling 29. Movie Theater 30. School Dances 31. A bajillion churches w/youth groups 32. Boy Scouts 33. CNCC functions 34. Mentoring 35. Volunteering 36. Mountain bike trails 37. Sandwash Basin for ATVs 38. Boys and Girls Club 39 Steamboat 45 miles away (a million other things to do there) -- I came up with list in about five minutes.

What do all of these have in common? Kids that want something to do besides drinking are actively engaged in activities and their community. The kids that are going to party will do it even if we have a rec center, even if local businesses never sold to minors, even if Disney Land was across the river. We have a TON to do in this area - sadly in most cases it requires some level of parental support and involvment and that is something we are in short supply of. A rec center won't fix the problem - Heck it wouldn't even make a dimple or dent in the problem.

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grannyrett 6 years, 7 months ago

Globe-You are 100% right on this! Kids that are going to party are not the kids that would use a rec center. They are too cool to be seen using a rec center. The kids that are going to stay out of trouble are the ones that already take advantage of all the things there are to do in Moffat County. The kids that drink don't go to these places or take advantage of the great outdoor activities there are around this area. Parents-they are your kids. You entertain them. Taxes have really increased this last year. There is no way people are going to vote to add more to them. Stop and think about those on a fixed income. They may have to give up their homes if taxes go up much more.

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buck523 6 years, 7 months ago

Globe.....yes serious. Will if fix all the drinking? NOPE! But, if it will help some....I'm all for it. There are lots of ways to pay for this without taxes being raised. I would challenge the people behind the rec center to find grants....and there are lots of grants out there for things like this. I would challenge them to get the hospital and school district to contrbiute some. As long as the people in the community are of the frame of mind you are.....totally against a rec center....it probably will not become a reality.

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Taylor 6 years, 7 months ago

While a Rec Center would certainly be a nice addition to our community, I agree with Globe and Granny and a good "excuse" to build a Rec Center is NOT because our kids have nothing to do. There is plenty to do and the "cool" kids would not use the Rec Center. The same kids that already busy themselves with hundreds of other activities will use the Rec Center, so yes, it would be nice for them. Not a necessity, but nice.

My current issue is still the spending of $20K to do a "study". That is a ridiculous waste. If a study is needed, put someone on it that is already on the payroll. That money would be better utilized with the actual building of a Rec Center, not padding the pockets of some scam artist out of Denver. And even IF a study would cost $20K, then at least keep it local. That is a year's salary for a lot of people in this town.

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lonelyone 6 years, 7 months ago

I figure a rec center is going to be more for the adults then the kids. I agree with Globe, it's not going to keep kids from going out to party. If they want to do a study, put out the petitions sheets around town and let people put their names down if they are for or against it. That would tell the City Councle how we feel............but there again, I'd probably not be able to sign it because I live out side city limits. I don't think someone who lives in Craig would be a good choice to do the study instead of an outside source..........only because then we'd say they were really in favor of it and didn't do it right or some such thing. I just think spending that kind of money and this is not the first time money has been spent on a study, is a waste of taxpayer money and could be better spent somewhere else.

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50cal 6 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone remember that Colowyo will be digging into Rio Blanco? what about that tax base? We will have to come up with other funds when that leaves us short on funding. We never had a rec center when I was growing up here and I was one of those bonfire and booze kids. We did have places where kids were supposed to go for alcohol free entertainment. Anyone remember the arcade and dance floor down where API construction is now? it was a great place to meet everyone and plan a party. I wonder how much teenagers have changed in all this time. I think we should start our own study of this. the cruise lines are really cutting their prices.

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buck523 6 years, 7 months ago

You bring back memories of that place down on Yampa. I can also remember going there. Point made.

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50cal 6 years, 7 months ago

what I wonder is why we need another government ran program? don't we have enough locally? trapper health club has been around for years my kid goes there and lifts weights. shouldn't a rec center be able to be self sustaining? That would probably require another study. As far as I'm concerned they could take that 20,000 and finish up some of the stuff they have started around elkhead. WOW spend a little money out there and what a rec center that whould make. At least for the summer months. Thats when those pesky teenagers are out of school and have nothing to do anyways. Lets finish up what we've got before we start on other projects.

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Globe 6 years, 7 months ago

I almost complete forgot about Elkhead!!!

  1. Elkhead Res. 41. Ice rink and hocky 42. Museums 43. Winter festivle 44. Grand old west days 45. numerous celebrations (Whitle in the wood, etc.)

Feel free to add to the list as we go

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50cal 6 years, 7 months ago

easy to forget when they are not doing anything. just like a rec center would be. they will start it off with a great push and then forget it and move on to the next thing that tickles them.

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