Rec center makes a splash

Community effort pays off big for Fruita

Fruita City Manager Clint Kinney jumps into the new pool at the Fruita Recreation Center.

In raising Fruita’s future, they acknowledged the past.

At the west end of the Fruita Community Center, 324 N. Coulson St., a local sculptor’s artwork consists of twisted, powder-coated steel with three oversized containers as its base.

The containers are some of the same that, more than a decade ago, Fruita seniors placed at various locations across the community as drop spots for aluminum cans.

In the end, local seniors had collected roughly $90,000, most of it from recycled cans, toward building their own recreation center.

On the back of a 2008 voter-approved, penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase, Fruita now boasts its own $13.7 million, 55,000-square-foot recreation mecca.

“This had been a grass-roots effort for so long, and there’s a lot of satisfaction in getting this done,” said Fruita City Manager Clint Kinney, noting some longtime local residents were moved to tears in recent tours of the finished center.

The facility is the first of its kind for the Grand Valley, and it will open to the public Monday.

“We’re very confident we’re going to attract people from all over the valley,” Kinney said.

Annual or punch-pass holders are invited to check the facility out Saturday and Sunday as the city staff continues its training; nine full- or part-time employees were hired in Fruita’s Parks and Recreation Department specifically to work at the facility.

To date, they’ve sold roughly 150 punch cards or annual passes, Kinney said. Fruita planners are counting on those revenues, in addition to monies from the 2008 sales tax increase, to offset annual operating costs projected at just under $1 million. The city projects annual revenues will be slightly more than $1 million.

Bells and whistles

Kinney said city officials heard a constant theme from residents when asked what they’d like to see in an indoor pool.

“Make it big,” he said.

They also wanted warm water, which will be kept at roughly 86 degrees, Kinney said.

With a 250,000-gallon capacity, the indoor pool has three times the capacity of the older outdoor pool, which also was remodeled, he said.

A water slide and climbing wall are situated at the deep end of the main, indoor pool. Nearby, a shallow section is reserved for children, and there is what Kinney and company are calling the “lazy river,” with water propelled in a circular manner around the pool.

A private party room is adjacent to the pool, one of several in the complex that can be rented for special occasions.

There’s a full-sized gymnasium, complete with six basketball goals and areas for volleyball. Above, a rubberized track wraps the gym, where 14 laps cover a mile’s distance. Also upstairs, a fitness room will host a series of aerobic and yoga classes. Several rows of cardio machines and free weights, complete with a bank of wide-screen televisions, occupy the northwest section of the second floor.

On the first floor and at the southwest corner, Fruita seniors have their own room set aside, featuring a pool table constructed in 1901, plus access to kitchen facilities. Connecting to the kitchen is a community meeting room that opens open to an outdoor patio.

Parents will have short-term child care options. The “Rec Rats” room is available on the first floor at $3 per hour for each child, but the service is limited to two hours per child per day.

Officials also tout the facility’s green elements. As patrons walk into the facility, a monitor to the left will provide real-time updates on power generated by solar panels on the roof. Fruita Public Works Director Ture Nycum said the 100-kilowatt solar system can provide up to 30 percent of the facility’s power.


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