Edwards fieldhouse struggles for funds | VailDaily.com

Edwards fieldhouse struggles for funds

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

EDWARDS ” Plans for a fieldhouse and rec center at Freedom Park in Edwards are stalled for now until planners find more money to fund the project.

Western Eagle County Metro Recreation District had hoped to start building the indoor sports facility this fall, but cost estimates have officials rethinking the plans.

The fieldhouse could cost anywhere from $8.7 million to $13.2 million, depending on how big it is. The basic plans would include indoor basketball and volleyball courts, an indoor turf field and gymnastics.

The most elaborate plans included a youth mall, a relocated Sheriff’s Office, a Howard Head clinic, concessions, a climbing wall and laser tag, said the district’s director Steve Russell.

The rec district plans to build the facility with increased property-tax revenue and the districts savings, Russell said.

Still, even the most basic plans will cost $2 million more than the district has to spend.

The district hoped to partner with the county, Vail Valley Medical Center and the school district to build the facility, but so far only the county is seriously considering pitching in. And the commissioners said they want to see some more developed plans before they commit any money.

Still, the district hopes to start construction on the project in summer 2009.

“We’ll explore some grants, then we’ll have to cut (the plans) back,” Russell said. “We’ll be revising the plans and getting something reasonable.”

Russell said there is a strong demand for a fieldhouse ” a 2004 survey showed that 78 percent of Edwards residents wanted one, he said.

Eagle resident Missy Lacy said she thinks a fieldhouse would be a good addition to Edwards, especially if it included an outdoor community pool. Both she and her husband work upvalley and would use the facility, she said.

“In Eagle the pool is just packed. If there were a pool up here, we’d definitely come up,” she said.

Edwards resident Kent Kingrey said he would use the facility if there were racquetball courts. He’s stopped playing because courts are hard to find in the area, he said.

“It’s just too expensive everywhere you go. To have some at the community center ” that’d be awesome,” he said.

Additional basketball courts are sorely needed in the area, said Avon resident Ron Ehrman.

“If you want to play ball, you’ve got to go to Eagle, so I just end up not playing. If they build some close, you could do all sorts of pickup games,” he said.

But not all residents were as excited about the idea of another large building in the area.

“I’m against it because it takes up too much land,” Edwards resident Stanley Carpenter said. “We already have enough there. Just keep it open space,”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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