Jim Whitfield — Candidate for the Apex Board of Directors
13106 W 59th Place, Arvada, CO 80004
What are your goals for Apex in the coming four years and how can you help Apex meet those goals?
In 2017 the bonds that were issued to build the Apex Center will expire and an opportunity exists to renew them. From an identified need for more recreation for the District’s constituents from 50th to 88th Avenue and from Kipling St. to Sheridan St. the vision 2020 committee had recommended an East Side multi-generational recreation center. If we can locate a feasible site the next four year term will provide the Apex Park and Recreation District an opportunity to renew the Apex Center bonds through a District bond “renewal” election. It will take a tremendous effort and strategy to construct a proposal for a majority of the entire District to approve. I feel I have proven qualifications, experience, and energy as an Apex Board member to help with this effort an assembling a winning proposal. Our prized Meyers 50 meter pool will also need to be replaced soon. The Meyers pool is owned by the City of Arvada and operated by the Apex Park and Recreation District. A design flaw when it was constructed has enabled water to damage the support beams of the walls and roof over the facility. Planning and discussions need to start immediately with the City, County, and School District with regard to its replacement. We have learned from issues with pools in the past that discussions and planning are an early necessity to ensure all of the stakeholders and District are aware of the need for a replacement. Like most all of the Apex facilities that were designed to optimally benefit both the local neighborhood, District, and surrounding areas, a new 50 Meter pool would be designed to continue to provide for competitive and recreational swimming and diving and would include facilities for residents that live very near the facility. The Fitness and Community Recreation Centers are very good examples of smaller neighborhood facilities that provide fitness and recreation but also provide a venue for all of the District to enjoy. There is a general need for improvements at all of our facilities and venues. Our outdoor turf sports like football, soccer, rugby, and lacrosse are eager to have more year round fields to play on, our baseball and softball facilities continue to provide a great venue for tournaments but need updating, and our District continues to be a Pickleball haven and continues to grow in popularity.
It’s generally recognized that the older parts of Arvada (east and south) are underserved when it comes to local recreation. What would you do as a board member to ensure that young people in these neighborhoods have easy walkable access to local recreation?
A lot of people I meet find this interesting that this part of Arvada feels underserved since looking at a map or our District shows that most all of our facilities are located in the older parts of Arvada (east and south). But then the North and West of the District reside primarily on open or undeveloped space. An analysis we did back in 2010 showed that the East side of Arvada was receiving or was planned to receive resources at or above its percentage of households in the District. I would like to increase the availability for people of all ages and locations to have access to recreation and Apex programming in the next four years. I would hope that the gold line and all of the planned secondary public transportation will help in this area.
Do you support the City of Arvada’s efforts to build a replacement for the old Apex pool that was once located on Ralston Road at Garrison Street?
I wasn’t aware that the City had a desire to do this ? I know that resources had been earmarked. However, we haven’t been formally approached by the City staff or Council as of yet with tangible plans. However, I am for more recreation and I wished that the last bond issue to rebuild the pool would have been passed by the District. I campaigned very hard to our bond issue to pass back in 2006 and will do the same in the next four years.
Do you support upgrading the Secrest pool and its facilities?
The District’s Secrest center and pool have been identified as a site worthy of new and upgraded programming. As I have stated numerous times all parts of our District need to feel that any bond issue has something to offer them. This is the key ingredient for a winning proposal.
The City-owned (but Apex operated) Meyers pool only has an estimated ten years of life left in it. Would you support rebuilding the facility?
Yes. We have proposed an idea to the City with regard to the Meyers pool being re-built. The VAMC facility at 136th and Holly is a very good example of the present day elements for 50 meter aquatics. I would propose that we consider adding a recreational indoor/outdoor element that could take advantage of our fantastic weather days. On this basis we will need to identify somewhere between 7 and 15 acres for such a facility.
Apex is supported in part by property taxes. Do you support the view that Apex should concentrate on building larger facilities that can pay for their own operating expenses instead of building smaller facilities that meet local recreational needs but may operate at a loss?
During my eight years on the board the District’s voters have made one thing very clear to us, “don’t build it if you can’t pay for it”. So I am not sure how we could operate at a loss since we are mandated to have a balanced budget on an annual basis. However, if we can implement more profitable facilities and programming like the Apex Field House they can help cover the cost of deficit centers without raising taxes for fees. I must say that even large recreational facilities struggle to run at break-even or at a profit. The fact that the Apex Center continues to do this on a year on year basis can be attributed to the fantastic staff and leadership that operate our District.
What new ideas would you bring to the table?
I think the best idea I can bring to the table is the wisdom to be able to collaborate with the other stakeholders in our district toward putting a winning proposal together for our District. As a member of the Arvada Healthy practices initiative I hope to grow wellness, nutrition, and recreational activities and programming for all members of our District.