MONTROSE – Montrose Recreation District officials say that with an aggressive savings campaign, and doing more with less staffing, they can deliver a $2 million cash downpayment for a new community recreation center by 2015.
Dubbing the City of Montrose "an essential partner" in plans for the future, rec district officials described cited new facts and figures that could facilitate a new rec center at a Montrose City Council work session Monday.
MRD Executive Director Ken Sherbenou said the district has about $2,695,165 now, in savings, and plans to accrue $800,000 in reserve accounts in coming years, to arrive at the funding goal of $1,895,165 for new construction.
“The numbers we are working with are solid rather than estimates," said rec district board member Barbra Byrum.
That staffing cut drew some public criticism, because the district entered into an intergovernmental agreement for city employees to perform the duties of the outgoing staffers. Nonetheless, "We have been doing all that work with less and less," Byrum said Monday.
Sherbenou said the district is facing estimated $741,500 in basic repairs to the Montrose Aquatic Center; the completion of a indoor pool in a new recreation center will allow the aquatic center to have its own renovations, where the district plans to complete a new indoor turf field over the exciting pool space.
Between the two facilities, Byrun said, Montrose could attract state and national sporting tournaments that would bring in new lodging and restaurant revenue.
In April 2012 a proposal of 0.2 percent sales tax increase for 10 to 14 years to fund a new rec center failed (2372 for and 2971 against).
Sherbenou told councilors that the measure failed, largely because "the overall plan wasn't good enough."
The biggest difference with the new plan, he said, is that the MRD now owns the site where the new rec center will be located.
In late 2012, just months after the April vote failed, the MRD purchased 26 acres located off Woodgate Road for $300,000. Byrum said the district had budgeted $800,000 from lottery funds to buy the land, leaving $500,000 now earmarked for building a new rec center.
The new facility is expected to see approximately 431 paying daily users, said Sherbenou, who added that rec center visits are at a five-year high.
If the district can not cover all the costs for the new facility after grants, funding partnerships or donations, voters can expect to vote on a 0.5 percent sales tax increase in 2014 – less than half of what voters in Cortez, Fruita, Durango, Gunnison and Delta paid for similar community rec centers, he said. "We've been trying to contribute as much to the [foreseeable] debt as possible," Sherbenou said.
In response from questioning from Montrose Councilor Kathy Ellis, Sherbenou said the rec district is prohibited from selling the aquatic center, which is owned by the Montrose School District.
Sherbenou will present final plans, with adjusted costs, on Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. at the Montrose Aquatic Center and again at 6 p.m. that same day at the Montrose High School.
In 2013, the district increased its savings by nearly 50 percent ($375,829) over last year (from $393,964 to $769,793), and decreased capital expenses by nearly 50 percent ($157,915) (from $325,970 to $168,055), in part by decreasing its number of full-time employees by four, from 15 to 11.
To view the MRD master plan visit: