Officials eye pool and ice rink expansion
EAGLE — The Eagle Pool & Ice Rink will turn 13 years old this year, and like any newly minted adolescent, it is suffering a few growing pains.
Officials from Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District, Eagle Ranch and the town of Eagle are looking at ways to spruce up the facility as it marches into its second decade. What everyone agrees about is that an expansion is in order. What remains to be decided is the size, scope and purpose of said addition. And, of course, who will pay the bill.
During a discussion last week that featured representatives from all three entities, the recreation district crew shared information about their plans to expand the facility. In particular, the center needs more space to operate programs and offer special events, they said. But community members have said if the rec district is going to build on to the facility, it should look at expanding what it offers there. The rec district board said it is willing to consider that possibility.
“Is is worth us looking at expanding and doing a partnership that works better for all of Eagle?” said George Wilson, rec district board member.
Peter Dann, representing the Eagle Ranch Association, noted that the association currently operates and subsidizes a fitness center in Eagle. He noted that once the facility moved to a 24-hour access operation, the subsidy dropped. Dann said users of the center are about half Eagle Ranch residents and half other town of Eagle residents.
With a fitness facility already operating, Dann said it makes sense to look at all the different possibilities before committing to an expensive expansion at the pool and ice building.
“We need to look at what makes the most sense for the whole town,” he said. “To duplicate what they have in Gypsum would not be wise.”
Gypsum Rec example
Rec district director Steve Russell said he believes there would be an increase in users at a fitness center if the rec district operated one out of the pool and ice building. At the same time, he noted many of the gains would likely come from families who now use the Gypsum Recreation Center.
“(The Gypsum Recreation Center and the Eagle Ranch Fitness Center) are different animals. They operate differently,” said Russell. He noted there is an adult fitness emphasis, including weight training and classes in Eagle. In Gypsum, there is more of a family recreation emphasis, including a leisure pool, climbing wall, gymnastics room and more, along with fitness.
But Eagle is definitely a family-focused town as well, and representatives from the different groups noted that many Eagle families use the Gypsum center because of its lower costs. The challenge, according to the group, is to hone in on what should be offered at both sites.
“Eagle has a great ice rink and a great pool,” Dann said. “The component of fitness can be specific to the types of facility in each town.”
“Having some uniqueness between facilities is not a bad thing,” said Russell. “I think diversity is a good thing. I think that why our programs are succeeding.”
All the entities agreed its a good idea to thoroughly study the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink needs and the costs that would be associated with an expansion.
“We are going to have a community of 20,000 to 25,000 people, and the towns will blend together. Eagle and Gypsum will be one major urban area in western Colorado, so don’t duplicate everything,” said Jen Wright, representative of the Eagle Ranch Association.
Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick pointed to the committee that worked to plan the Gypsum Recreation Center and said a similar effort would serve Eagle well.
“I think there is a strong willingness among Eagle residents to step up and serve on a committee,”Kostick said.