South Park Recreational Center opens |

South Park Recreational Center opens

Special to the Daily/Linda BaloughMembers enjoy a noontime spash in the "tropical" pool at the South Park Recreational Center in Fairplay.

FAIRPLAY – The South Park Recreational Center in Fairplay opened on Feb. 15, to the delight of residents.”We’ve been swamped!” said executive director Paula Sprague as she ducked into a temporarily vacant room to share a quiet moment, during the last day of a three-day open house last week. “There must have been 50 people in the pool last night.”The facility is located just off Highway 285 on Bullet Road near the Park County Fairgrounds. The $2 million, 10,000-square-foot center provides aerobic and weight machines, dance, and aerobic exercises and a pool, as well as meeting and party facilities. Even though many people show a keen interest in the weight machines and aerobic fitness facilities, the primary draw for most of the families is the pool.

While small by Olympic standards, the pool offers two lap lanes for the dedicated swimmers. The main attraction is a shallow leisure pool that features a “lazy river” current, a children’s slide and a tropical spray that seems to come from everywhere, including the tops of the two artificial palm trees in the heart of the aquatic area.Memberships range from an annual family rate of $412.52 for residents of the South Park Recreational District, to a $5 daily use fee for young people from 4 to 17 years old. Membership includes full use of the facility and general aerobic classes. Nonresident fees are slightly higher. Special classes such as dance, yoga and senior dance movements, are available at an additional fee.

The South Park Recreational District, a quasigovernmental special district covering an area within South Park generally bounded by Kenosha Pass, Hoosier Pass, Trout Creek Pass and Wilkerson Pass, is funded by a 2.29 mill levy approved by voters within that district.The center has a $110,000 operating budget that will be augmented by income from memberships and meeting and party rental fees. The new facility is the most ambitious to date, but it is not the recreation district’s only project. Last year, the district helped with funding for new playground equipment for the Hartsel community park, and this year is willing to help communities within the district with other recreational projects.

District spokesman Monte Gore said the district board will accept written requests for funding until April 15 and announce awards on April 28.Skateboard enthusiasts may be able to enjoy an outdoor skating facility at the center by September, if plans go well. The town of Fairplay will build the skate park on recreational center land and turn over the maintenance and upkeep of the facility to the center. The district also has long-range plans for two more recreation center phases. “This has been in the works for more than 10 years,” Gore said. “There have been dedicated present and former board members and a lot of people in the community who have worked very hard to make this happen.”

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