by John Kiljan
Background: The Apex Park and Recreation District (Apex P&RD) is having an election. The Apex P&RD covers nearly the entire City of Arvada and a few areas in Jefferson County. Its recreational activities are funded through a combination of your property taxes, user fees and public grants.
This interview was held March 28th and is one in a series of interviews with candidates for the Apex P&RD’s Board of Directors. The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community offered each of the candidates an opportunity to respond to local CLRC issues and concerns related to recreation and to comment on them in an informal discussion. The interviewer was the CLRC’s T.O. Owens and this writer did the follow-up questions.
There are three candidates for the two open positions on the Apex P&RD Board. Terms are for four years. The election is scheduled for May 8th, but those who have already requested a mail-in ballot from Apex will be able to vote as early as mid-April.
Your vote counts more than in most elections for public office. Apex P&RD elections are typically won by small margins with only a few hundred people voting.\
The Candidate: Carolyn Jacobs is not currently a member of the Apex Board, but she previously served on it for 12 years beginning in the 1990’s. During her tenure she has worked with three Apex Executive Directors including the current Director, Mike Miles. She also chaired the committee that set up the bond issue that created the Apex Center on 72nd Avenue and has been off the Board for four years now.
She is a single mother who has raised two children in the home she has lived in near Vanderhoof Elementary School for the last 25 years. She is also a Microbiologist and consultant with VRL Laboratories in Centennial, Colorado. The company performs infectious disease and microbiological testing for tissue and bone from deceased donors. She is a member of a number of professional organizations related to her work.
On Recreational Opportunities Leaving the Central Ralston Road Community: The demographics of Arvada have certainly moved west. When the Apex Center was designed and built, it was in the dead center of the population of the recreational district. Since then the population center has moved even farther west. But that doesn’t mean that we want to ignore the area from Kipling eastward and the closure of the Fisher Pool. During the time I was on the Board, we tried everything we could to save that pool. But it was leaking profusely and there was nothing that we could do to save it.
Plus, the City of Arvada was telling us that we had to move everything out of that area because it was in a floodplain. During the time I was on the Board we planned for a splash deck. They are popular and they would be allowed in the floodplain.
On Apex’s Vision 2020 Review Committee: The committee for a new 15-year plan was first initiated when I was on the Apex board. We put an ad in the paper saying that we’d like to have people volunteer for what, at that time, was called the North Jeffco Park and Recreation District. We took everyone who applied. The current 2020 planning committee is a holdover from that previous group, plus they invited some other people onto the committee because of their broad knowledge of Arvada.
So, you are correct when you say the selection wasn’t open to everyone, but the idea was to reenergize the old committee and ask, “Where are we five years later?” Many of the things the original committee wanted to do, such as constructing the new field houses, have since been done. They are also to consider the issue of, “How are we going to address the facilities to the east?” Shelley Cook, in your district, is one of the City of Arvada’s representatives on the 2020 committee. But, no, I am not a member myself.
I think that committee is going to have a pretty strong influence on the direction that the Board will take in the future. I also believe that Apex will do a community survey once that committee finishes its work. In other words, not to stop there but to expand it to survey of a larger segment of the recreation district’s population. But I don’t know if there will be a survey of every home in the District.
It’s understandable that you’re disappointed that your association is not represented in the planning meetings. I, myself, don’t know the number of 2020 meetings that are being held or how many more they are planning to have.
I don’t have all the information I need and I don’t know if I, as a Board member, would be able to affect that recommendation or get somebody on that committee. But I hear your concerns.
On the Importance of a Local Pool: When we were looking at the last Apex bond issue that would have included a new pool to replace the old Fisher Pool, I went door to door in the immediate area to get people’s opinions, I got a lot of, “I’ll support it,” feedback and also a lot of, “There is no way I’ll support it,” responses. The voters turned down bonds twice that would have included another pool.
I’m a 80004 ZIP-code person with a small 2000 square foot house and a one-car garage, and I was a single parent. I truly understand how hard it can be to get your kids to places when you have to be at work. I think walkable access to local recreation is important.
One of the reasons I moved to this area is because of the quality of life. I remember there was also a publicly available pool at that time near Arvada West High School. It’s closed now. My son become a lifeguard after taking lessons there and at Meyers pool. My daughter and son played soccer through the Arvada Soccer Association and my son was in the District’s gymnastics program.
On Partnering with Other Agencies: One of your questions was about partnering with the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA). I think it is absolutely mandatory that we partner with both the City and with AURA. We have to pool our available resources and we don’t want to duplicate activities. We need to see how we can make things work together as the Triangle is redeveloped.
Apex is working closer than ever now with the City of Arvada. I know many of the Council members. And I’ve met the new City Manager, Mark Deven, who seems to be a really good guy and has a good background in parks. I know the District is happy to have him on board and they look forward to working with him. I think Apex’s Executive Director, Mike Miles, does an extraordinary job. When we have him at the helm of Apex, we know that the money is going to be well spent and that personnel are going to be happy.
Funding Recreational Facilities: I think it is probable that Apex will ask the voters to extend the 1998 bonds before they expire in 2018. As far as building a recreational facility in the central area of Arvada, when we do that, it will depend on the 2020 committee and on what everybody is asking for. We should ask people what they want, and it is equally important that the district respond to the Vision 2020 committee’s recommendations. We have a responsibility to look at all of those things and together decide what does make sense.
When I first started on the Board, it was taxes that supported much of what the district did, but now we rely much more on user fees. Mill levy revenues were dropping back then due to Gallagher and Tabor, and 2008 was the first time the District had ever asked for a tax increase. In response to the mill levy ratcheting down and decreasing the tax support to operate the district facilities, Mike Miles cut back personnel and focused our resources where they were most effective. I do think it makes sense to have new facilities in the east. I also think that we have to look at a taxing sub-district as a potentially viable way to do that.
We’d have to look at the legalities of a sub-district first, but it is something that we may want to consider. In this day and age you have to be creative when it comes to funding. If an outdoor pool can pay its own way, and you’re saying there is one in Wheat Ridge that does, then it’s worth looking at for Arvada. I understand that the Apex Center itself has been profitable every year but one since it was built.
I haven’t thought about amending the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) we have with the City of Arvada to allow the City to fund and run its own active recreational facilities. It has been working well to have Apex run the active recreation programs and the City managing the passive recreational areas. I wouldn’t want to commit myself one way or the other on the City funding it’s own active facilities, but I would be concerned about the dilution effect on Apex. Would we then be supporting a special interest even if it didn’t cost Apex anything? So much hinges on the recommendations of the Vision 2020 committee. However, there is nothing wrong with some competition.
On How Apex Serves the District: Apex represents a huge district. Even so, Apex doesn’t do all the recreation in the City. For example, Apex doesn’t serve all the golfers. I live in this part of the City and I want to protect my property values and I love the sounds coming from the Stenger and Lutz Sport complexes. But not all my neighbors agree. They are worried about noise, traffic and lights from the bigger facilities. We’re supposed to serve everyone, but sometimes it’s not so equal when it comes to regional facilities versus local facilities.
I don’t have an agenda in running for the Board. I’m not advocating for any particular group. Apex serves the entire population of the district whether that is youth baseball, golfers, senior citizens, exercise junkies or artists. I’m not advocating that Apex buy property, although I am hoping that Open Space is now becoming more amenable to special districts using their grants to acquire property.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Carolyn Jacobs can be reached on her cell phone at 303-579-5034 or via email at
If you wish to make a contribution to Carolyn’s campaign, checks should be sent to
Committee for Carolyn Jacobs
5857 Union Street
Arvada, CO 80004
No website is planned for this campaign.
Here’s a link to the Apex Park and Recreation’s website on the election:
It has a link to request a mail-in ballot and who to call to get more information.
The polls will be open May 8th from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at two locations:
13150 W 72nd Avenue
and at the
Community Recreation Center
6842 Wadsworth Boulevard
Note: In past Apex elections, most have chosen to vote by mail-in ballot. However, even if you are already registered as a voter, you will not automatically receive a mail-in ballot. Voters must apply for one directly to Apex, either in person or by mail, by the end of April. Call Luanne Levine at Apex at 303-403-2518 for more information.
Lee Humrich and Jeff Glenn are also running for these Board vacancies. The CLRC does not endorse candidates for elected office. However, interviews for all three of the candidates for the Apex Board vacancies can be found by going to the Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community’s website at www.RalstonCommunity.org
John Kiljan, CLRC News: 303-423-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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