Judy Snedeker, executive director of the rec district, announced at a Jan. 25 meeting that future building plans have been indefinitely postponed.
“The economy was one of the factors, and some things [currently] in the Legislature could play a huge factor,” she said.
In the wake of its defeat at the polls two years ago of the district’s bid for support for a new center, major physical improvements have been made to the Montrose Aquatic Center, Snedeker said, using district money and grants from the Department of Local Affairs.
The expansion has enlarged the lobby area, created a new entrance and added office spaces and new rooms for classes or community use, Snedeker said, and brought all 16 rec district employees to work in one location, she said, supplanting the old farmhouse that had housed the administrative staff.
“And on the east side, we created classroom spaces that can be rented out for community use as well as for in-house programs,” Snedeker said. “You can do a birthday party or a full-day workshop.”
The cost of the expansion was $697,000, she said, with additional money coming from the Department of Local Affairs. The work was completed last summer, all within budget and paid in full.
The next hoped-for phase of construction, which the district is willing to delay before going before voters again, would more than double the size of the building, adding a gym with two full-sized basketball courts with bleachers, new locker rooms and possibly a teen center.
“There are a lot of things out there with the Legislature that could make a difference in how we function with a mill levy,” Snedeker said. “Until things start changing, it is more appropriate to be respectful of the community … We would really like to fine-tune it and then bring it to the table.”
But the rec district isn’t standing still, and although space is tight, its newly published 40-page Winter/Spring 2010 guide showcases the district’s many activities, for all ages, from Mommy and Me Yoga to Nightclub Two-Step lessons, beginning guitar lessons, winter walking, and Tai Kwon Do, to name a few.
Despite having to wait for the much-needed expansion, Snedeker was optimistic in her column in that guide.
“Two years ago this fall our efforts to pursue a Recreation Center were defeated, but we have not allowed the defeat to switch our vision,” she wrote. “Instead of looking at what we couldn’t do, we decided to look at what we could do.”
It’s indisputable that the rec district needs more room, but instead of pushing for more building funds, Snedeker said the district wants to hear from people about what they envision for the future.
The public is invited to talk to rec district staff and board members at their booth at the Montrose Home and Garden and Business Expo on Feb. 19-20 at Friendship Hall at the Montrose County Fairgrounds, Snedeker said.
“We want people to know the door is open to hearing suggestions for when it gets to the point that we have a more detailed conversation” about the next phase, she said.
“Everyone would love to see a rec center, but if it gets to that point, what should it look like?”