Letter: Yay for 6A
Mountain Recreation’s Ballot Issue 6A will invigorate a “whole community” approach to health and wellness by integrating behavioral health and related social services into upgraded facilities. It also will greatly improve services across all age groups.
For instance, since being on the town board that set aside 10 acres and built the Eagle Pool & Ice rink over 20 years ago in 1998, after my kids graduated from kiddy swimming a few years later, I have not had a reason to step foot in that facility. The Gypsum Recreation Center was better designed for opportunities across age groups, but the valley’s population orients East, not West, for most day and evening activities. The Edwards Field House has vast indoor spaces for team sports in cold weather. Each place omitted key elements necessary for a more integrated approach to community recreation. This ballot measure will improve upon that disparity while allowing individuals to recreate where they live or where they work on the same pass.
It will also greatly improve upon an outdated, disjointed model for funding facilities and programs. The old WECMRD partnered with the towns of Gypsum and Eagle or the county (in Edwards) individually over the years to build facilities that each could afford (quite unequally) based on local recreation wants at the time. None of those entities have dedicated funding for recreation or view it as a core function. Nor was there a coherently comprehensive facilities plan cross the district. Ballot Issue 6A will change that.
Building new courts and other workout facilities at the Eagle Pool & Ice Rink will also provide an alternative to those of us who dearly miss noon basketball at the Eagle Middle School campus where it happened three days a week and over holidays for many decades after the Armory on Broadway collapsed. It was a beautiful contractual and financial partnership between the town, school district and WECMRD while it lasted. Noon ball was a drop-in time counted on by an ethnically and age-diverse set of males and females, regularly between 15 and 40 players. There were recent high school players, coaches, graduates returning home, young adults who had evening work, the self-employed as well as working community elders (such as myself) who wanted a healthy social break when it was most needed in the middle of the day. People came to play with friends and for the peer support as much as the workouts. A great deal of cross-generational mentorship, coaching and tending to behavioral health happened in that informal setting. Noon ball embodied what the term “community” used to mean. In this way, 6A is an opportunity for Mountain Rec to bring that vision back full circle, do it with improved facilities and a broader vision for community across the entire Western end of Eagle County.