Rec center backers targeting 2010 ballot
Banking on an uptick in the deflated national economy, members of a group hoping to build a recreation center in Grand Junction said Thursday they tentatively intend to seek a city sales-tax increase in November 2010 to pay for building construction.
Officials with the nonprofit Grand Valley Recreation Resources Inc. said they wanted to make it clear their project is still alive despite the tough fiscal times and the recent revelation that a developer’s proposal to build a civic arena southwest of downtown fell apart.
“The message we want to convey is we are very much alive, we are well, we are moving forward,” said Sally Schaefer, chairwoman of the Grand Valley Recreation Resources board of directors.
Rec center backers plan to lease a slice of the city’s 100-acre Las Colonias Park in south downtown to build an 85,000-square-foot facility. The building could contain two full-size gymnasiums, an indoor leisure pool, an indoor track, event and meeting rooms, locker rooms, a game room, a commercial kitchen and leased space for a fitness center, restaurant and gift shop.
Schaefer said she would expect to ask city residents to approve a quarter-cent hike in the city’s 2.75 percent sales-tax rate. She said that would pay for the majority of the construction cost, once pegged at $28 million but which Schaefer believes might now be down to $25 million.
Volunteers may be able to raise as much as $2 million through foundations and private donations.
Schaefer predicted people will warm to the idea of funding the construction of the rec center once the economy bottoms out and rebounds.
“Once the economy takes the slightest uptick, people’s mood will change and their priorities will change,” she said.
She said contractors looking for work could view the project as an economic boost and be willing to build it for less than a couple of years ago.
Organizers believe rec center memberships will pay for the staffing and operation of the facility, although they intend to find some way to make it available to those who can’t afford a membership.
More information about the rec center is available on the Internet at http://www.grandvalleyrec.com.