Northwest Colorado Recreation Foundation eyes mill levy for proposed rec center
The group working to bring a recreation center to Craig is reexamining plans to acquire a large, currently unused building as they release a new map of their proposed taxing district.
Northwest Colorado Recreation Foundation held a public meeting Wednesday, April 17 at Craig City Hall to update residents about their plans.
The group had identified the 95,000-plus square-foot building that formerly housed Kmart as a possible location for the rec center. However, retrofitting the building to accommodate the proposed amenities will make construction costs cost prohibitive, said organizer Elise Sullivan.
“We think within our budget we could maybe do around 62,000 square feet,” Sullivan said.
The group’s taxing district map includes everything inside the northern, eastern and southern portions of the Moffat County line all the way to about where Colorado State Highway 318 meets Little Snake River to the west.
NWCRF said they are proposing a mill levy on the area — an estimated $50 to $60 more in residential property taxes each year for residents whose homes are valued at $100,000. The group also thinks they will need between $15 million to $20 million upfront for construction costs.
“These are estimated,” Sullivan said. “When we have official solid numbers that have landed, we will share those.”
In past meetings, residents expressed a need for a host of amenities that a recreation center could provide, including:
• Space for an indoor track, gym, and fields for multiple sports
• Competition-size pool, lifeguard training, a shallow play area, and a lazy river for exercise or recreation
• Dedicated senior center with workout rooms and meeting spaces
• Community kitchen
• A child care center and a teen space in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Club of Craig
To help accomplish this, the group has attracted the volunteerism of Anthony Loughran, a project manager for Perkin + Will, which specializes in “interdisciplinary services in architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, landscape architecture, and more,” according to their website.
Loughran is a Craig native and said he wrote an opinion in years ago in eighth-grade advocating for a recreation center.
“I have all my family here,” Loughran said.
He added his father will soon be needing a place to rehabilitate his knee after surgery, so he’s dedicated to making sure Craig has a recreation center.
“I’m invested in this protect,” Loughran said.
But, not everyone in Moffat County wants to pay additional property taxes. An initiative to fund Moffat County Libraries and Museum of Northwest Colorado through a mill levy tax increase failed in November 2018.
Still, NWCRF is hoping residents will invest in a recreation center whatever the cost.
“It is asking the taxpayer to pay more money,” Sullivan said.
Melany Neton, co-director of NWCRF, envisions a rec center capable of attracting regional swimming competitions, basketball competitions and more. She has seen many such facilities as a result of her children’s involvement in athletics.
“Everywhere we go, every community has a rec center, and it brings so much money into that community,” Neton said.
The group said they also have contingency plans in case the mines close and less money comes in through any taxing district that may or may not get on the ballot and pass.
“Just because the community has a downturn, that doesn’t mean the death of a rec center,” said Marvel Simineo, vice president of NWCRF.
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