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October 10, 2013
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Avon Recreation Center’s future up to voters

AVON — Council members want to move forward with a plan to spend $7.7 million improving the rec center, but first they’ll need voter approval on Nov. 5.

The plan — which would be funded through an increase in property taxes — has been met with near-unanimous support from Avon’s elected officials, who say keeping up with other nearby towns is important to the area’s future.

“(Avon’s) not so busy now, and it’s because our neighboring towns have done so much,” said councilman Dave Dantas.

A $6 million field house was constructed in Edwards in 2009, and Gypsum opened its $12 million rec center at the start of 2007. A $2 million facility in Minturn is expected to be complete in spring of 2014.

With the Edwards facility known for its climbing wall, and Gypsum boasting 57,000 square feet of space, Avon officials would like to see their rec center expanded by more than 30,000 square feet and equipped with a $658,500 climbing wall. Also included in the potential plan are areas for squash or racquetball courts, indoor sports arenas and a multi-use community center, additional space for activities such as basketball or yoga, increased area for cardio and weight training and special events, and an indoor playground.

The ballot question would also provide approximately $5 million in additional funding for other recreation facilities and improvements such as a new outdoor playground structure, outdoor fitness equipment and a natural stream play and learn area, an ice rink for general skating, remodeling of the town’s restrooms, the construction of an ice sheet on Nottingham Park for sports including ice hockey and broomball, and a turf field.

Parking shift

In order to accommodate an expanded rec center facility, a shift in the town’s current parking configuration would be in order.

According to a memo provided by town engineer Justin Hildreth, the rec center expansion, which would occur on the east side of the existing building in the East Recreation Center Lot, would result in a net reduction of approximately 69 parking spaces, depending on the final design.

“An ice rink is proposed for the west side of the recreation center, in the location of the grass field and parking lot near the pool. The ice rink will require the closing of the west recreation center parking lot and the loss of the 44 parking spaces,” wrote Hildreth. “A multi-purpose room/gym, expanded fitness room and flex meeting/yoga room will add approximately 32,750 square feet to the recreation center, requiring 76 additional parking spaces for a total of 345 spaces required for the public facilities. 161 new spaces will be required to accommodate the new facilities and loss of parking.”

Hildreth says the new parking spaces could come from an installation under the expanded rec center, through a reconfiguration of the remaining rec center lot and The Seasons north lot, and additional spaces added along Benchmark Road and Lake Street.

“These parking configurations would yield a total of 361 parking spaces, 16 more than what is required for the rec center expansion and the existing facilities in the area,” Hildreth wrote.

Survey shows support

In an effort to obtain the opinions of the current rec center user population, the town of Avon circulated a recreation facility and improvements survey at the rec center from Aug. 15 to 22. They received 131 responses.

Of all the various recreational improvements to be funded by the tax increase, the largest amount of support came from those wanting to see an expansion of the rec center to include indoor sports areas and a multi-use community center, with 92 percent in favor. The new outdoor playground structure, outdoor fitness equipment and natural stream play and learn area was the second most popular idea, receiving 79 percent support. A new turf field near the elementary school was the least popular, but still received 52 percent support. The climbing wall received 75 percent support.

According to a memo from the town of Avon, “72 percent of those who identified themselves as a ‘voter in Avon’ indicated they would vote for the new tax for the facilities and improvements.”

November ballot

The November ballot question will ask voters to continue an existing property tax — which is set to drop off in 2014 — and add a little extra on top. The additional cost to residential property owners would be approximately $2.84 per month on a home worth $300,000; commercial property owners would pay an additional $7.91 on a $300,000 property. If the plan is not approved and the existing tax drops off, then taxes on a $300,000 home will decrease by roughly $6.02 per month, and taxes on a $300,000 commercial property will decrease by roughly $21.45 per month.

“These parking configurations would yield a total of 361 parking spaces, 16 more than what is required for the rec center expansion and the existing facilities in the area.”
Justin Hildreth
Town engineer


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The VailDaily Updated Oct 11, 2013 09:58AM Published Oct 11, 2013 02:09PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.