Bartnik: Healthy and happy, today and tomorrow
Mountain Recreation is evolving as a district, and we hope you are seeing the changes we’re making every day to better serve you. Since reopening post-COVID, the Mountain Rec staff have been finding ways to keep our facilities clean, operational, and welcoming to everyone.
The benefits of this effort are clear: Memberships are once again on the rise, many youth summer camps were sold out with waitlists upon waitlists, our sports leagues had more growth than we’ve ever seen before, and our three pools have seen thousands of guests this summer. On top of that, we’ve held a ribbon cutting ceremony for our new Eagle Sports Complex building, we’ve partnered with Small Champions to bring new Adaptive Rec programming to ensure all youth feel like they belong, and, even more, we’ve been working on ourselves to revisit how to create welcoming and inclusive spaces and programs.
Members of our staff have reached new heights by earning national professional credentials, earned statewide and nationwide recognition, and we’ve even celebrated some pretty remarkable milestones. Sheryl Staten, our facility supervisor in Eagle, celebrated her 20th anniversary with Mountain Rec in March, while Scott Ruff, our superintendent of recreation facilities, reached his 25th anniversary this year.
Every day we are seeing our community coming back, getting active, connecting and supporting one another. Kudos are owed to all the Mountain Rec staff, community partners, sponsors, volunteer youth sports coaches, and to you for making this place the best it can be! If you’ve been out for a bit, we’d love to see you again soon.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
As I am sure many of you are aware, the community outreach team has been busy sharing information about “All Access Rec,” a potential question being considered for this year’s November ballot.
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Proposed are improvements in Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum that convert Mountain Rec’s recreation centers to true community centers. Included in each facility are health and wellness centers, cardio studios, indoor tracks, larger multipurpose rooms and free public spaces for community members to hang out in a safe and semi-supervised environment.
Sprinkled among the centers are a teaching kitchen, consolidation of climbing structures to increase safety, an outdoor gear library center, a year-round ice rink, and existing amenities unique to each community.
Concept plans developed reflect not only the community’s desire for a broader service reach, but also a focus on healthy, active lifestyles that result in prevention of physical, mental and behavioral health issues.
All the above and more is why Mountain Rec is considering asking voters for an increase in its property taxes. The current operating levy supports the existing facilities, services, and programs as they are provided to the community now. The existing mill levy of 3.65 was set by voters in 2002 and has not changed in nearly 20 years, despite the growth of our community. The capital improvements proposed in All Access Rec cannot be afforded within the existing levy, so that’s why we are considering asking voters to approve a tax increase.
Community centers are similar to other community infrastructure investments, built and maintained as a shared community cost through taxes. Similar to schools, fire and paramedic services, and libraries, parks and recreation services/facilities are a community-wide asset, open to all and providing services to all ages.
As any proposal like this, there have been concerns shared about the process, costs, and projects identified, and I think it’s important to continue the dialogue and collaboration with our community members. To be fully transparent, we’ve sent informational bilingual mailers, scheduled one-on-one meetings with community leaders, visited board meetings, and set up booths at over 30 community events to answer any of our community’s questions this summer. I would encourage everyone to visit AllAccessRec.org to learn more about this proposal and to keep the dialogue going with us.
Working to become better than yesterday
It has not all been smooth sailing — we’ve had our challenges. This year’s youth summer camp registration caused inconveniences to parents due to software glitches out of our control. That is why Mountain Rec will transition to a new registration software this fall.
Like many others, we’ve felt the staffing shortage in the valley, which is why we are all working around the clock and wearing different hats to keep facilities open and programs running. We’ve seen mechanical issues at all three of our aging pools, currently leaving the Gypsum Rec Center pool closed as of July 31. These challenges provide the opportunity for creativity, so we are now offering Gypsum pass holders a taste of an “All Access Pass.” Gypsum members will receive access to the Eagle Pool through Sept. 6.
At Mountain Rec, we believe that everyone deserves to be healthy and happy and we are evolving to achieve this mission every day. Just imagine how we’ll be able to serve the community tomorrow.
Janet Bartnik is the executive director at Mountain Recreation. Contact her at JBartnik@MountainRec.org.