South Park rec district wants public’s feedback on rec center expansion plans | SummitDaily.com

South Park rec district wants public’s feedback on rec center expansion plans

The current South Park Recreation Center in Fairplay.

The South Park Parks and Recreation District Board of Directors will host a series of community meetings to gather residents' input on the potential expansion of the South Park Recreation Center in Fairplay.

Speaking Friday, SPPRD board president Angela Kanack said the current center, which sees visits from 1,500-2,200 community members every month, is in need of extensive upgrades.

"It would be two areas," she said, "a full-sized gymnasium with a climbing wall, that's what we are looking at right now, and also a running track on the top. Then you would have to have the locker rooms to support that. And the other part is three more classrooms, plus a technology center, a commercial kitchen and a daycare area."

Kanack added that the current rec center leaves local residents with few options for community gatherings — such as business meetings, weddings, receptions and memorial services. She also said available square footage for activities and classes are currently maxed out.

"Basically, we've outgrown it," Kanack said of the current size of the rec center. "It needs to grow with the community."

Community question and answer sessions will be held at the Alma Town Hall on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.; at the Fairplay Recreation Center on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.; at the Jefferson Community Building on Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.; and at the Hartsel Community Center on March 1 at 6 p.m.

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Two Colorado-based companies, CSNA Architects and Bryan Construction, will advise the board on design and construction pro bono.

"This popular regional resource is over capacity," Kanack said. "Improving and sustaining our recreation center means more community options for family gatherings like weddings and receptions. Residents who need a gymnasium for winter activities won't have to wait for time at the high school gym, which is almost always booked with school-related activities. We can expand class offerings so people don't have to drive far and wide for exercise classes — currently we can only hold one at a time."

The rec center serves the people of the South Park Parks and Recreation District, a special district established in 1998 by the vote of the community. And as a special district, the SPPRD is a government entity with the authority to put tax proposals before the public. The entity serves approximately 6,000 residents over 1,200 square miles.

The South Park Recreation Center opened its doors in 2005, something Kanack described as "phase one" of the center's construction as a phase two was to be on the way.

Speaking Friday, Kanack said feedback from the public will result in that phase two construction the SPPRD planned more than a decade ago.

"We have winter six months out of the year here," Kanack said. "We are looking at providing something for children, but a lot of adults and seniors would like a place to walk as well."

Kanack added that the SPPRD conducted surveys of rec center users regarding what they may want in an expanded center. And after they receive the feedback of the people at the community sessions, a mill levy — an increase in the assessed property tax rate used by local governments and other jurisdictions to raise revenue in order to cover annual expenses — will be put forth to voters at the election in May.

Kanack said the SPPRD will go for grants to help offset funding for the project.

"We can get capital grants once we have a mill levy passed," she said, "and usually with a capital grant, you need 65 percent of the money."

Kanack added that she couldn't provide a ballpark cost for the project yet with the community meetings still pending. She also said construction would start as soon as the mill levy passes in May and that the advisory architects expect the new center to be open within a year. The rec center will also remain open during any construction.