Following a name change and freshly distilled vision and mission for the Mountain Recreation Metropolitan District in 2018, the Mountain Rec Board also approved a strategic plan with seven priorities. One of which is centered around converting recreation centers into community centers and expanding district facilities to meet the community’s needs.
For the last two years Mountain Rec staff have been working diligently with partners, planners, consultants and the community to create Master Plans for our three service areas in Edwards, Eagle & Gypsum. While there is still plenty of work to be done, this page will serve as a hub for our community to learn more about the process and see updates.
A Master Plan is a document meant to guide an agency for improvements over a period of time. The process involves strategically examining a community’s vision, existing services, facilities, resources, and assessing future needs. A good example of a Master Planning process and how it evolves is the current Eagle Sports Complex project HERE.
Mountain Recreation believes that everyone deserves to be healthy and happy. Despite this firm belief, we’re unable to serve many members of the community due to our aging amenities and undersized facilities. Our valley is also battling a Behavioral Health (Mental Health and Substance Abuse) epidemic which requires preventative measures in the form of prosocial services and activities. As the community hub for health and happiness we must adapt to meet the changing needs of our growing population.
Studies show that improvements in behavioral health are realized by strengthening social connections between members of the community. The proposed facilities are designed to do exactly that. Mountain Rec locations will evolve from rec centers to multi-cultural and multi-generational community centers, while also housing several prosocial, health-focused nonprofits.
In order to serve everyone in the community, we’re seeking public and private dollars to fund large scale capital improvements at our facilities. We need to provide easy and most importantly, equitable access to all.
To that end, we’re also looking to create an affordable district-wide pass which allows members of every age, ethnicity and generation to attend every facility, all year long.
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- Transparency & honesty are paramount to our staff and board of directors
- When we don’t know the answer to your question, we’ll do our best to find the answer. Sometimes the answer might be, ‘we don’t know yet’.
- Working in concert with our community and partners we believe we can reimagine our facilities to ensure everyone’s lives are both healthy and happy.
Spirited debate is a healthy part of the process. We believe that a multitude of opinions (even ones in opposition!) help us create thoughtful, inclusive and informed solutions. There are going to be disagreements along the way. That’s ok. That’s actually good! The important thing to remember is that we’re all part of the same community. Working through the process with civility and respect is essential.
- Planning Roadmap
1) Staff is given direction from the board to explore options for facility improvements.
2) For larger projects, staff contracts with a consulting company to help guide the community engagement and planning process. For smaller projects, staff carries the full load of community engagement/planning.
3) An initial survey is shared with the community soliciting feedback for what they’d like to see and also to gauge the ability of current facilities to meet their needs.
4) Staff/consultants analyze survey data and then create a concept plan, doing their best to weigh the community’s needs with what is possible on the land available and within target budget ranges.
6) Staff, consultants and elected board members analyze all data and decide on a final master plan. A Master Plan may include a phased approach over time and does not guarantee that all amenities will be built. (a great example of a master plan being phased is the current Eagle Sports Complex Project below)
7) Staff and board then consider some of the common funding models for Special Districts in Colorado (Mountain Rec is a special district, view our boundary map HERE)
- Pay for improvements out of District’s voter approved mill levy which was last increased in 2002. This is how we completed the Gypsum Rec Center and Eagle Sports Complex improvements. The current mill levy does not generate enough revenue to fund major facility upgrades.
- Create a ballot measure asking voters whether they approve of an increase to Mountain Rec’s property tax mill levy to help pay the debt incurred (in the form of bonds) to complete the project.
- In the case of the above option, voters of the district get to vote on whether to increase the mill rate and allow servicing of the debt via bond issue. Translation: YOU get the final word on whether the projects move forward.
- Revenue Bond – Board of Directors would vote to service the debt through revenue the district receives through the annual operating budget.
- Secure funding from other government entities and/or philanthropic asks
- A combination of the above
8) Before asking voters to increase a mill levy for facility improvements we will hire an independent third party to conduct a statistically valid survey to test our district’s voters appetite for a tax increase.
9) Once funding is secured concept plans are moved into design and construction phases. NOTE: There are occasions when design results in changes to the concept plan due to engineering & environmental impacts. (A good example of a Master Planning process and how it evolves is the current Eagle Sports Complex project HERE.)
- Eagle Sports Complex Restroom BuildingBreaking ground in March 2020
Staying true to our process, we asked the community what they wanted to see at the Eagle Sports Complex through an online survey and by meeting with a diverse collection of user groups and stakeholders. We continued to share concept plans with the community and user groups to settle on the new building concept which is scheduled to break ground spring 2020. We upgraded the restrooms and provided more shade, two of the items most requested by the community. This project is being paid for in full without asking voters for more money.
(The above plans are currently in the value engineering phase to ensure tax dollars are being spent economically. That means what you see in those renderings may change as we continue to refine before breaking ground.)
You can view the full master plan for the Eagle Sports Complex HERE. This is a great example of master plan being split into phases. It also shows how architectural designs change during the process as we receive community and construction input.
- Eagle Pool & Ice RinkBuilt in 2003 in partnership with Town of Eagle
Recognizing the community’s needs were not being met by the outdoor pool in Eagle, Mountain Rec worked with Town of Eagle to fund and build the current Eagle Pool & Ice Rink facility. The total cost of the facility was $5.2 million and Mountain Rec provided funding for about half of the project with Town of Eagle providing the other half. Mountain Rec paid the bonds issued 10 years ahead of schedule.
Town of Eagle and Mountain Rec place funds in the capital reserves annually to ensure facility is maintained and operated at its current service level.
Learn more about the current planning project for the Pool & Ice Rink HERE.
- Gypsum Rec CenterBuilt in 2006 | Remodel in 2018 in partnership with Town of Gypsum
The Gypsum Rec Center was built in 2006. Mountain Recreation provided $3 million towards the cost and Town of Gypsum sales tax revenue paid the remaining balance of approximately $10.5 million. Mountain Rec has a current intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Town of Gypsum to operate the facility. Both organizations place funds in the capital reserves annually.
In 2017, we asked Gypsum residents what facility improvements they wished to see via online survey at the Gypsum Rec Center. We then delivered a $500,000 facility facelift and membership restructure in cooperation with our partners at the Town of Gypsum who shared the cost with the District.
We completed the remodel of a new layout and fitness floor, provided HVAC repairs and replaced outdated fitness equipment, without raising taxes. Listening to the survey responses, we removed barriers to health by including fitness classes, child watch, and tumble tots with facility memberships. Staying true to our stated vision of providing both access and equity, our membership rates remained among the lowest in the Valley.
Learn more about the current Gypsum Rec Center planning process HERE.
- Edwards Field HouseBuilt in 2009
The Edwards Field House was built with funds from bonds issued 2008, which were repaid from the current mill levy. The 2008 bonds were paid off ahead of schedule with funding from the existing tax levy. The total cost to build the Edwards Field House was $9 million. Currently, the District is debt-free and paid off the debt incurred to build the Field House 10 years early in 2017.
Learn more about the current planning process for the Edwards Field House HERE.
- Edwards Field House Reimagination
- On May 3, 2019 we launched a public survey to gain initial comments from the public. This survey collected 475 responses and closed on May 31st. VIEW RESULTS HERE.
- Staff then worked with user groups and consultants to gather feedback and continue to refine the concept plan.
- The current concept plan was shared with the public on February 10, 2020 and the comment period closed March 2, 2020. Our staff and board are reviewing the feedback to see what adjustments, if any, should be made to the draft concept plan.
- View the draft concept plan that was share with community on Feb 10, 2020 HERE
- Next Step: Mountain Rec board will reconsider community input on concept plans before making a final decision on amenities to be included in the plan and funding strategy.
- Eagle Pool & Ice Rink / Haymaker Trailhead Joint Planning with Town of Eagle
- In July 2019 we distributed a public survey with Town of Eagle to gather initial community feedback. This survey garnered 554 responses online with another 130 received at community events and closed on July 21, 2019. VIEW SURVEY RESULTS HERE.
- In January 2020, we released initial concept plans which were based off the initial survey from July. We then asked the community for additional feedback. VIEW CONCEPT PLANS HERE. The community feedback on these plans closed on February 7, 2020.
- Next Step: Mountain Rec board will reconsider community input on concept plans before deciding upon amenities that will be proposed for phase 1 along with accompanying funding strategy.
- It’s important to remember, not everything shown in the January 2020 concept plan will be possible in phase 1 of the project.
- Gypsum Rec CenterJoint Planning with Town of Gypsum
Mountain Rec staff have spoken with Town of Gypsum to start the conversation of what additions might meet the communities needs best at the Gypsum Rec Center. One thing to keep in mind for residents of Gypsum would be the addition of the District Wide Pass once we’re able to renovate Eagle & Edwards. This would mean your membership in Gypsum would also give you access to the facilities in Edwards and Eagle to enjoy things like: Ice Skating, Outdoor Family Pool, Indoor Soccer, Trampolines, etc.
- When will these projects break ground?
- That’s a tough question to answer at this time, but ultimately, that’s up to YOU! Everything is contingent on whether voters within the Mountain Rec Special District approve a mill levy increase. Our staff and board are diligently working to secure funding from other sources along with weighing community input on new amenities. Our goal is to create a plan that we can execute that’s also financially responsible and represents a palatable mill increase to district voters.
- How much will this cost?
- That is still a moving target. For example, the current cost estimate for a new pool, fitness floor, community rooms, gymnasium and outdoor restroom in Eagle is about $30 million. Edwards upgrades are currently estimated around $20 million for what you see in the concept plan released in Feb 2020. Hypothetically, if we were to add an indoor pool in either facility, costs would increase another $10 – $20 million per facility. If we were to add another sheet of ice in Eagle, estimates range between $10 million for a better insulated version of what we have now, or $20 million for something more grand. As you can appreciate, there’s a big difference between asking voters to fund a $50 million project vs a $70-90 million one. (see the funding table below)
- Are you getting second opinions on construction costs?
- Yes! Once we have formalized construction plans we will hire a independent third party consultant to analyze the documents and share their feedback on where we could save on cost. All construction contracts will be put out for bids in accordance with Colorado law.
- Will Edwards and Eagle projects happen at the same time?
- Our goal is to complete Edwards and Eagle under the same funding strategy. If the strategy is not successful, we may look at completing the projects separately.
- Will everything I see on these concept plans happen?
- Most likely what you see in both concept plans will incorporate a phased approach due to costs. The current plan in Edwards could be possible to complete without phasing, but that largely depends upon funding.
- What are some examples you can give for how much the district will be asking us to pay annually? (please keep in mind these numbers are estimates. They are not based on complete designs or concrete construction costs and are subject to change as additional information becomes available and as market conditions change)
The numbers below are based on a home valued at $500,000
- $20 Million in Facility Upgrades: $62 per year increase
- $40 Million in Facility Upgrades: $123 per year increase
- $60 Million in Facility Upgrades: $184 per year increase
- $80 Million in Facility Upgrades: $245 per year increase
- When was the last time Mountain Rec asked voters for a mill levy increase?
- Voters approved a mill levy increase in 2002 to our current levy of 3.65 mills
- When will these projects break ground?