If Grand Junction voters approve a new community recreation center in the April election, a sizable amount of private money will be available specifically to make sure low-income users have access to the facility.
A local couple has promised community center proponents that, should the measure pass, they are committed to giving $25,000 a year for the next 10 years to make sure everyone can participate in the new center.
The couple, who own multiple local businesses, say they wish to remain anonymous, at least until after the election.
"I think it would be a great thing for Grand Junction — a great thing for the whole valley," one of the donors said.
"Lower-income people, whether they're families, or single mothers with kids, or seniors — they're some of the most vulnerable people in our society," he said. "They have to plan out their purchases, and every dollar counts."
The couple envision setting up a foundation — or identifying a foundation that already exists, whichever makes more sense — for the money.
"If this could help start a fund or a scholarship that would allow more people to enjoy the facilities, I think that's a good cause," he said.
The donor said lower-income people are "the core constituency that (the community center) needs to serve."
"It's certainly not enough to satisfy the needs of everybody that probably wants to use it, that can't afford to use it, but it's a start," he said.
Grand Junction voters are considering a 0.39 percent increase in city sales tax to fund construction of a 98,000-square-foot community center at Matchett Park, develop the park and sports space around it, and rehab the aging facilities at the Orchard Mesa Pool.
Jeriel Clark, campaign manager for the Grand Junction Community Center Campaign, said the donor couple has supported their effort in the past, "kind of on the sidelines," but that the gift meets the original plan for the community center as a place that will end up being "more than just a building."
"It's going to be the community that develops around it that will make it what it is," Clark said, highlighting the importance of providing access to everyone in the community.
Preliminary per-day fees to play at the center are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and children. Kids under 3 would get in free. Discounted punch and annual passes will be available as well.
Any fees, though, will have to be set by the city, and the parks and recreation department has already said, through scholarship programs, no one will be turned away because of the ability to pay.
Whatever form the donation eventually takes, both the campaign and the donating couple hope others will be spurred into giving to the effort.
"Hopefully, with an investment like this, it will incentivize others to participate," Clark said.