Who’s not in the recreation business?
It’s a curious thing for the Summit Board of County Commissioners to say, “We aren’t in the recreation business.”The irony of the statement is that we hearty Summit countians are gung-ho recreationists, whether the activity is on a ski hill, a bike trail, a golf course, fishing or participating in an organized league. For sure, the commissioners maintain the county’s crown jewel, the paved recreational path system. We remember when it was the paved bike path. County open space and trails officials moved the designation to recreation path to recognized the runners, walkers and dogs that enjoy the path.The county also leases the Blue River ballfields below the Dillon Dam from Denver Water, for public enjoyment.And that’s where the commissioners wish to end their financial commitment to recreation, not counting, possibly, the contribution of Question 1A money to an indoor arena for the Mountain Fair.The latest occasion for the commissioners to say, “We aren’t in the recreation business,” came Monday when Frisco officials asked the county for a $291,000 contribution to help build a Little League-sized baseball field, maybe at the Summit Middle School, maybe at the Frisco Peninsula Recreation Area. Commissioner Bill Wallace said some seed money might be forthcoming, but put most of the onus on applying for Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) money.The request was not lost on a Silverthorne resident in the audience who said Frisco should build its own ballfields, just as Silverthorne and Breckenridge have.The whole discussion raises a bigger question about a regional recreation district. The fact of the matter is that no matter where the fields are, people from across the county travel to play on them.Several years ago, local elected officials and managers raised the thought of a recreation district to improve recreation facilities. One of the launching points for the discussion was how to upgrade the quality of the Blue River ballfields and to light them.Frisco appears in a hurry to build its ballfield. The ideal place would be at the middle school under an arrangement with the Summit School District. The precedent is set where the schools provide land but a town maintains a quality ballfield for general public use. That’s how it is at Upper Blue Elementary School.If the idea is such a good one, Frisco should pony up the money and do it, while designing the field for other uses besides Little League.Meanwhile, maybe it’s time to resurrect talks about a recreation district. If we believe that recreation is essential to our quality of life in Summit County, and we do, the district makes sense.
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