City council gives full support to rec center |

City council gives full support to rec center

Christina M. Currie

Between high school government class students and concerned residents, the Craig City Council chambers were packed Tuesday night.

The students attended because it was a class requirement. The rest of the audience was there with questions about the proposed recreation center — a project that will move forward following a unanimous council vote on an ordinance to place a tax increase question on the November ballot.

Members of the recreation center steering committee agreed at their last meeting to wait for council approval before moving forward with the campaign.

They got it, with no dissenting opinions offered by either the council or audience members.

One of the main concerns voiced by audience members was whether the project would cost more than the estimated $12 million.

“There’s a history of overruns. I’m afraid we’ll get into a jail-type situation,” Craig resident Dave Gilmer said. “I don’t think that would be good for anyone’s political credibility.”

The total cost to taxpayers is expected to be $13.4 million, with $12 million for construction and the remainder for fees associated with issuing the bonds.

“We can tighten the language to reflect a price limit of $13.4 million,” City Attorney Sherman

Romney said.

A combination half-cent sales tax increase and a 2.75 percent use tax will fund the recreation center alone, without considering any additional grants or other contributions. In the case that other money is raised, it would be used to retire the debt earlier, not to inflate the total cost of the project, City Manager Jim Ferree said.

The city was awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for the construction of a recreation center.

If the election is successful, that money will be used to pay the project off earlier than the 25 years currently anticipated.

Once the debt is paid, the sales tax increase will sunset and the use tax will be reduced to 2.5 percent and will continue to offset the cost of operating and maintaining the recreation center.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Dave Pike said he’s confident the consultants, Sink, Combs and Dethlefs, have made accurate projections on the cost of construction and operations.

“They’re really proud of the fact that they keep their facilities at budget or under budget,” he said.

Craig resident and shooting instructor Laura Tyler attended the meeting. She donated $100 to the campaign and urged others to do so.

“I would definitely recommend that if you have an interest, that you attend the steering committee meetings,” Tyler said. “I urge you to put your money where your mouth is and not just show up to shoot,” she told several other shooters in the audience.

A recreation center has been two years in the planning. If approved by voters, it will contain an elevated walking track, racquetball courts, a six-lane lap pool, a leisure pool with water slide, indoor shooting range, teen and senior rooms, gymnasiums, a fitness center and other amenities.

In response to question from the audience, Mayor Dave DeRose estimated construction could begin in the spring of 2004 and be completed in 9 to 12 months.

“This is something the steering committee has really looked into and I really feel good about it,” Councilor Kent Nielson said. “It’s going to serve a lot of people.”

In other business, the council:

  • Heard a request to contribute $30,000 to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport for its $17.8 million terminal expansion and renovation project. The airport employed 119 Craig residents during the last ski season and during the 1999-2000 ski season spent $135,000 in Craig on goods and services.

Those were some of the reasons given for the request.

The council will consider the request in the 2004 budget, but made no decisions Tuesday night.

  • Issued a special events liquor license to the Veterans of

Foreign Wars for a Veteran’s

Day dinner Nov. 8.

  • Renewed a 3.2 percent retail beer license for Pizza Hut.
  • Approved a request for a side-yard setback for a garage at 636 Taylor Street for Thomas and Jayne Morley.
  • Approved an off-street parking and landscaping plan for a shop building at 1715 N. Yampa Ave. for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
  • Discussed reducing the $179,000 asking price on the Cosgriff property to an amount more in line with current property values. The Cosgriff property is located on Victory Way and came into the city’s possession after it was condemned and the city paid to demolish the building.

Georgina McAnally, owner of American Northwest Realty, suggested the city consider an asking price of $138,000 to $140,000, which is less than the city paid to demolish the building.

  • Awarded a bid for pipe for the 2003 water line project to Grand Junction Pipe and Supply Company for $39,797.20.
  • Awarded a bid for mechanical fittings for the water project to Hughes Supply Inc. for $41,769.89.
  • Heard the July finance report.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at

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