by John Kiljan
Dear CLRC members and friends,
What type of recreational facilities do you want to replace the old Fisher Pool and the adjacent recreation facility that used to be in the community park at Ralston Road and Garrison Street?
Another pool? An ice skating rink? Gymnastics? Pickleball? An exercise or workout facility? Basketball? Tennis? Senior-oriented recreation? Indoor or outdoor? Something else? The choices and combinations of choices seem nearly endless.
Please help your community (and yourself) by attending our open-house meeting on May 7th and help the City decide what should go into a new recreation center for the central Ralston Road corridor.
Your neighborhood association, the Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community (CLRC) and the City of Arvada are holding this kick-off meeting to start a three-month process of gathering community input for a new recreation center. During this time we hope to hold meetings at churches, schools, active adult centers and to go door-to-door seeking input. In late July we are looking to present our findings to the Arvada City Council as they take up the issue of what to do about the recreational gaps along the central Ralston Road corridor.
The open-house meeting will be held Tuesday, May 7th, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at City Hall in the Anne Campbell Room adjacent to the police department entrance on the lower level. Everyone is welcome to come in during this time and talk with us and share their ideas.
The CLRC has already started soliciting volunteers to help with this initiative. Here are the answers I have been giving to some of the most frequently asked questions put to me:
Q: If I can’t come to the meeting that night, do I miss out and not get a say? A: Nope, you can still be in. We hope to soon post a link to our on-line questionnaire and you can give us your thoughts that way. You’ll also find an option to volunteer to help us to get feedback from your neighbors and participate in future community feedback on this issue.
Q: Why is the neighborhood association interested in this? A: Local recreational needs have been one of the top priorities for the CLRC since our association was formed in late 2010. Citing decades of a slow loss of neighborhood recreational opportunities, our members — both young and old — have consistently identified finding healthy and safe recreational activities for our neighborhood youth to be a big concern for the neighborhoods.
Q: Where will this rec center be located? A: We don’t know. No one knows. The current thinking is that it will be in or near the Arvada Triangle shopping center next to the newly rebuilt park. That would be the best option for serving the area around the old Fisher Pool, but it could be anywhere nearby. The purpose of this initiative is not to help decide where it will be located, but to help decide what will be included in it when, and if, it is built.
Q: Does this mean a rec center is certain to be built? A: No, it doesn’t. The City’s support for building a recreation center is contingent upon the redevelopment of the three shopping centers from Garrison to Kipling along Ralston Road. This area is collectively known as the Triangle to most of us. Without redevelopment in this area, the City is unlikely to make a substantial investment in any public recreational facility.
Q: Really? Is the City serious about this? Or is it just another one of those studies that gets talked about for a few months and is then put on a shelf for years and forgotten? A: Perhaps. But the way to tell is to look at the City budget. Right now, the City has allocated $3.1 million in their 2013/2014 budget to build this center. The reality is that just to build a replacement for the Fisher Pool would cost about $4 million. A multi-purpose rec center would be at least a couple of million more depending upon what was included. And those numbers don’t include the cost of the land. Somehow, additional funding will have to be found if the center is to become a reality.
Q: I want this to happen. How can I help? A: There will be many ways to participate. Come to one of our meetings, fill out the survey online, talk to your neighbors, or sign up for text alert emails or to volunteer. We’re also tracking our volunteer hours to show the City that the community is backing this effort.
Also, at the end of this listening initiative we are hoping to set up an ongoing working group that will look past this needs survey and help to review concept plans, and preliminary construction plans as they become available in the future.
Q: Who is organizing all of this? Is it the neighborhood association or the City? A: Well, it’s both — and more. The CLRC went to the City asking for a small grant to use a community focused non-profit organization that specializes in providing preliminary architectural support services for underserved neighborhoods. That organization is called Radian and you can learn more about them by going to their website at RadianResources.org .
With the support of the City Council, the City agreed to do just that, and Radian will be using its four-month contract to coordinate and organize a series of meetings and other activities, all designed to capture community input on what elements would be most useful in a new community recreation center.
Photo credits: The Anderson pool photo is courtesy of local photographer Paul Wedlake. The pickleball photo is courtesy of the USA Pickleball Association,
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
If you are wondering what pickleball is, you’re not alone. It’s the latest rage among mature adults and one of the few games to be co-invented by a dog — a cocker spaniel named Pickles. Think of it as ping pong played on a half-sized tennis court with a plastic wiffle ball of the kind that we used to use for baseball as kids. Google up the name on the internet to find out more. Or, ask Apex about their pickleball activities elsewhere in the city.
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community regularly posts information on its website at http://www.ralstoncommunity.org/ as it becomes available. Or you can friend us on Facebook. Our Facebook name is “CLRC Arvada”.
John Kiljan, CLRC Notes: 303-423-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org
April 29, 2013