Mtn Rec wants to hear what Edwards Field House users want | VailDaily.com

Mtn Rec wants to hear what Edwards Field House users want

Concept plan survey is now live on rec district website

The Edwards Field House, shown above, anchors Freedom Park and Mountain Recreation officials want to know what future amenities users support.
Special to the Daily

GYPSUM — There’s no shortage of wants among Mountain Recreation users, but as we all know, dollars are a finite resource.

So, before the district starts spending its limited funds, its leaders have reached out to ask people what recreation amenities they most desire. That was the process Mountain Rec employed with its recent Gypsum Recreation Center remodel. In January, Eagle Pool and Ice Rink users were invited to weigh in, not only on future expansion of the building, but on all the recreation uses and needs at the Eagle site.

Now up is the Edwards Field House concept plan and feedback form, an active link on the Mountain Recreation website. The comment period is open until Monday, March 2.

Edwards Concept

While the district is interested in hearing everything Edwards users have to say, some facility improvements just aren’t very likely

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“We don’t have the footprint there that we would need to do an indoor pool and that would also double the budget,” said Mountain Rec Executive Director Janet Bartnik. “So, we chose not to put a pool in this particular plan.”

But the concept does include new exterior design and expanded uses in Edwards. In particular, the proposal features large fitness areas and multi-use rooms. Those amenities reflect Mountain Recreation’s goal of having its facilities function not only as recreation centers but also as community centers.

As it looks at the future for the Edwards Field House, Bartnik said Mountain Rec is reaching out to other community entities to see if there are shared needs. For example, the district has discussed options with Eagle Valley Behavioral Health.

 “This is an opportunity to bring clinical help into a non-clinical facility,” she said.

From Howard Head Sports Medicine working with cancer survivor groups to a teaching kitchen where diabetes support group members could learn about nutrition, Bartnik said there are many community needs that could be accommodated at the Edwards Field House. But, as the concept plan itself notes, the future of expanded options will depend on people’s willingness to pay for them.

“Creating a master plan is one of the first steps to improving government facilities/amenities,” notes the plan introduction. “Full disclosure, the following concept plan will not be possible without asking voters for their support to fund the project and we cannot commit to a construction timeline until funding is secured. We’ll continue to share updates throughout the process and welcome your excitement, concerns, and honest feedback.”

Eagle results

As they turn their attention to the Edwards concept plan, Mountain Recreation officials also shared findings from the recently completed Eagle Pool and Ice Rink process. Mountain Recreation Marketing and Communications Manager Scott Robinson said the results from that work have given the district important guidelines as it looks at phasing for improvements.

Survey responses showed support for the outdoor pool in Eagle, but users would like to see an expanded facility. “Overall, when we did the initial survey, upgrades to the existing outside pool far outpaced desire for an indoor pool,” Robinson said.

“That outdoor pool was built in early 2003 and it was built for the population at that time,” said Bartnik. “We know that looking at use in the afternoons in the summer, we get pretty full.”

Survey respondents also indicated support for fitness facility as the pool and ice rink building and more bike skills facilities, and a bike wash station, at the facility property.

On the ice rink side, there was support for a second sheet of ice in a more spectator-friendly environment. The cost for more ice could run anywhere from $10 million to $20 million.

But that’s what the concept planning is all about, Robinson noted. After hearing what people want, the district can take the information and formulate its own capital plan. It can also reach out to other organizations — both recreation entities and community groups — to see if there are shared opportunities. The district can also look internally to see if there are operational answers for improved services. For example, Mountain Rec could initiate facility pass transfers so Edwards Field House users could also access the pools in Eagle or Gypsum.

“Doing a concept plan is really about making sure that we proceed with things in the right order,” said Robinson.

‘Then we can start checking off the boxes, one piece at a time,” Bartnik concluded.


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