Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District envisions expanded community role | VailDaily.com

Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District envisions expanded community role

EAGLE COUNTY — In both land area and resident involvement, the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District has a large realm of influence.

From dozens of children's sports programs to various adult leagues to operations at three major facilities, for nearly four decades the recreation district has played a big role in the downvalley community fabric. As the district looks toward its 38th year of operation, it is considering how to broaden its vision and programs to meet the needs of is expansive and expanding service area.

On Tuesday, May 8, voters will elect two new members to the WECMRD Board, and according to the district's executive director, Janet Bartnik, the newly elected representatives will join an effort aimed at making the district an even more vital part of downvalley life.

Bartnik joined WECMRD in August. Since coming on board, she has been impressed with the district's history of partnerships and the board's desire to serve residents.

"Our board has embraced emphatically making progress toward serving our entire community in the best way possible," Bartnik said. "I am excited about that language."

She noted WECMRD is also partnering with other governments and agencies to corroboratively address wider community issues. For instance, this summer will see a pilot program in Gypsum to provide lunch for kids who live in food insecure homes. WECMRD will step up and add some summer activities to enrich the lunch program.

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Because the district's mission is to provide programs and services to all western Eagle County residents, WECMRD offers program subsidies for low-income families. The district also is working to meet the needs of all working families, offering free activities for middle-school kids during school holidays. And those are just two examples of how the recreation district sees its role as expanding beyond sports programming.

"We are asking ourselves, what are the community issues that need to be addressed?" Bartnik said.

As WECMRD's leaders ask that question, Bartnik hopes the district's outreach and collaboration efforts become a model in the community and beyond.

"It's an exciting time to be part of WECMRD, as a board, as staff members and as patrons," Bartnik said.

WeCMRD Election

There are five candidates vying for two open seats on the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District Board of Directors in a polling place election next week.

When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 8

Where: Gypsum Recreation Center, 52 Lundgren Blvd.; Eagle Pool and Ice Rink, 1700 Brush Creek Road; Edwards Field House, 450 Miller Ranch Road.

More information: Call 970-777-8888.