Gypsum leaders question county’s plans for Berry Creek
In comments at a Feb. 11 council meeting, Gypsum Town Council members were unanimous in the opinion that they’d prefer to see county recreation money spent up and down the valley rather than at one central location.
“It just doesn’t seem quite fair to dump all the eggs in one basket,” said Council Member Tom Kelly, reacting to recent news reports that the county is exploring the feasibility of a $22 million to $30 million recreation center at their Berry Creek property in Edwards.
Council members agreed to write the county commissioners a letter voicing their concerns, and to invite all three commissioners to attend a Gypsum Town Council meeting to discuss the issue.
Gypsum Council Member Tom Edwards said the town is now in the third year of implementing a five-year recreation plan. Softball fields have been developed on a mesa near Town Hall, and plans are in the works for construction of an amphitheater and an indoor recreation center. Edwards noted that in addition to its own recreation efforts, the town has been supportive of Eagle’s recreation projects. The neighboring town is mid-way through construction of an outdoor swimming pool and indoor ice rink. Both towns are part of the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District, which levies a tax for recreation services.
Edwards suggested county money would be better spent up and down the valley rather than at one specific location. He said citizens would prefer recreation facilities in their local communities rather than having to drive to one central location.
“Edwards needs something – but the county shouldn’t play catch-up by throwing all the money into Edwards,” Edwards said. “I don’t feel we need the world’s biggest recreation facility in Edwards.”
Fellow council members agreed, saying the county has not consulted Gypsum leaders about recreation plans. Council Member Tim McMichael said he has approached County Commissioner Tom Stone, whose district includes Gypsum, about funding for fields and other recreation projects, but has not gotten a response.
“It’s ridiculous to look at that Berry Creek site,” McMichael said. “(Recreation money) needs to be shared throughout the county. I don’t think $30 (million) to $40 million in one place works.”
“I would love to see the county put money into facilities in Gypsum and Eagle,” added Edwards said.
The council extends an invitation to the county commissioners to discuss the issue.
This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.
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