Liz Jones: ‘It Takes a Community to Build Community Centers’
Transparency is paramount to Mountain Recreation when it comes to our community, especially when it comes to information impacting the district’s taxpayers and customers. Over the next few weeks, we will be sitting down with our Board of Directors to ask them about Mountain Recreation’s proposed capital improvement project All Access Rec.
Today, we sat down with Liz Jones, Board president, to learn a bit more about All Access Rec and what it means for our community. To submit questions to our board or staff, email us at info@MountainRec.org.
How will All Access Rec allow the district to keep up with current and future needs in our district?
“All Access Rec is a capital improvements initiative that addresses the growing needs of our community; the original recreation facilities (maintained at a high standard) were built for approximately half of the population the District serves now. Everyone is acutely aware of the growth of the County. The public needs are fast outgrowing the District’s facilities. We struggle to offer more programs simply because of limited space. All Access Rec would expand the facilities and the District’s ability to serve every age and every season. How much more will our community grow over the upcoming years? Through All Access Rec, we want to ensure our existing community has increased access years from now, while anticipating significant population growth. We are at a point where we can barely keep up due to space limitations; this would open the door to more access and more services and programs.”
Why is the District asking its tax payers to help fund this project? Shouldn’t this be paid for by the district’s users?
“It’s going to sound a bit cheesy, but it takes a community to build Community Centers. We are asking for community investment into what we know is some of Eagle County’s greatest assets. Similar to schools, fire and paramedic services, and libraries, parks and recreation services and facilities are a community-wide infrastructure investment, which are often built and maintained as a shared community cost through taxes. If the district significantly increased fees (to users) to make the proposed capital investments, many community members would likely not be able to afford to use the rec centers, play in a sports league or send a child to summer camp. The subsequent drop in members and usage fees would then place additional financial pressure on the district, which would have the opposite effect of what’s intended. A temporary mill-levy would allow us to pay for all proposed amenities, requested by our community over the last three years. The District is considering a November ballot question to pay for this initiative and has even created the Mountain Rec Foundation to help as an additional funding source, to alleviate the total cost to District taxpayers.”
How will Mountain Rec facilities improve in Gypsum?
“As a long time Gypsum resident, I remember when the Gypsum Recreation Center opened and how amazing the facility was for such a small community. I raised three kids with the help of the Gypsum Rec Center and its programs! Now 15 years later, Gypsum continues to grow, and the Gypsum Rec Center is bursting at the seams. The needed improvements to that building will expand the fitness and walking areas, as well as upgrade the infrastructure of the HVAC and the pool. Check out the improvements planned at AllAccessRec.org and let us know your thoughts!”
Over the following weeks we will be sitting down with the rest of our District Board–including Mike McCormack, Chris Pryor, Mikayla Curtis, and Tom Pohl–to hear directly from them how the proposed expansions can help the District keep up with our booming Eagle County community, today and in the future.
To learn more about the capital improvements road ahead, the over 30 community Q&A events with our board and staff, and to get involved, visit: