Parks and Recreation finalizes plan
Recreation Center, trail system department's priorities for upcoming year
November 8, 2001
By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
On Monday and Tuesday evenings, the final touches and refinements of the Craig/Moffat County Parks and Recreation master plan will be handled.
The Parks and Recreation master plan steering committee will review, discuss and make some final adjustments on Monday.
Tuesday, the plan is presented by the steering committee and DHM Design Corp. to the Craig city council. Both meetings are open to the public.
“This is a chance for any last minute changes,” Dave Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation Department Director, said. “We’ve moved far along enough to begin creating the final draft of the [Parks and Recreation] master plan.
A community survey in September helped the steering committee create a plan that reflects the communities wants and needs, Pike said. The survey gave the desired direction the community wants to go, and now the process has come to the point where it is “time to talk about the X’s and O’s of getting it done.
“I feel that the community wants the steering committee, the city council and the [County] Commissioners to move on determining the location of a possible Rec Center,” he said. “The community wants us to stay on the track we’re on for planned improvements they want the budgets to stay where they are, and for us to work on trails, open space acquisition and a Rec Center.”
There are five potential sites for a Recreation Center, and one of the major decisions that remains is selecting the best location. Locating the Rec. Center on the property that the Colorado Northwest Community College bought off of County Road Seven is one option. Other sites are at Woodbury Park, the corner lot at First Street and Ranney Street, at Loudy Simpson Park and the corner of W. Victory Way and Fourth Avenue W.
In September, a survey was distributed to 6,125 households, with 285 being returned. In the results, 75 percent responded in favor of expanding and improving the area’s parks, recreation, trails and open space system, with the building of a Recreation Center the top priority. Fifty-eight percent favor a Recreation Center that allows for multiple use, including a gym, handball courts, indoor shooting range and a gymnastics room. Seventy-seven percent supported the development of a trail system around Craig, and 73 percent supported the protection of agricultural land, wildlife habitat and open space through land acquisition.
Now the work concerning where to put the Recreation Center and how big a facility to build begins, Pike said.
“It has to be big enough to include all the community’s needs,” he said. “It needs to have something for the senior, something for the teens, and there is a large amount of support for an indoor range. If there is something for everyone, we have a good chance to pass this in a vote.”
How to pay for these projects has yet to be finalized, and that is the bulk of the work remaining for this plan. The creation of a Recreation District, which would function like a Fire District, would raise the funds through property taxes. A higher sales tax is another option, or some combination of property and sales tax the community will need to decide how they want to do this, City Councilor Tom Gilchrist said.
“Most people I’ve talked to feel strongly about getting a Rec Center and trails and open space,” Gilchrist said. “How to pay for it hasn’t been decided. In the end, maybe some combination of user fees, sales tax and property taxes will create the revenue. There are different revenue options that need to be looked at.”
One potential revenue source is adding room for commercialization to a Recreation Center leaving space that could be leased to businesses or entities that would utilize the facility. Rehabilitation and physical therapy businesses would be a good example of that, Gilchrist said, and a store that sold sporting equipment would be another possibility.
Partnerships is another way that funding for construction, maintenance and operations could be handled. A pool could be used by both the Moffat County High School and CNCC, as well as the gym, allowing the schools to expand existing physical fitness curriculum and opportunities for students.
“[CNCC] would be very interested in looking at the options,” Dean Hollenbeck, vice president of CNCC, said. “I think a recreation facility located next door to the college would be a great advantage to the students, and would probably allow us to expand in our athletics, with teams and curriculum.
“What the community wants is still to be decided. If the community wants to do that, there are lost of ways the school could get involved. There’s a lot of potential there.”
If the facility could handle it, swimming and volleyball are a couple of sports CNCC would potentially get involved in, Hollenbeck said.
The Parks and Recreation master plan Steering Committee is meeting on Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the city council chambers. The plan will be presented to the city council on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., also in the City Council chambers.