[updated January 7, 2015]
This semi-informal meeting next Tuesday could spark an interesting discussion between our City government and Arvada’s special recreation district. The Apex Park and Recreation District wants to issue between $25 million and $35 million in new bonds for recreational facilities in Arvada. If it does that now, it can legitimately claim that it will not be increasing taxes since the mill levy it is using to pay off its outstanding development bonds will be redirected to paying off its new ones over the next 20 years or so.
[Update: This was indeed an interesting discussion. If I get time, I’ll try to write up more about what is going to happen in another RalstonCommunity.org article. –John]
Apex is a separate governmental entity from the City of Arvada and is supported through a combination of property taxes, membership fees and fees for its many team sports activities which attract region-wide participation.
The contentious issue could be local recreation in the underserved parts of southeast Arvada. Apex has said that the public demands that any new facilities it builds should pay for its own operating expenses. But others have disagreed saying that is not a reasonable position for any tax-supported public agency to hold, whether it be for parks, police services, courts, road maintenance or recreation.
Apex’s position has meant that Apex has favored building large central recreation centers such as the one on 72nd Avenue and field houses off of 58th Avenue and Oak Street over the years. It has also meant that Apex does not support a replacement pool for the one they previously owned, managed and maintained at Ralston Central Park (the Fisher Pool) on Ralston Road, nor has it proposed any recreational facilities easily accessible to the Columbine or Olde Town neighborhoods.
Apex was created in the late 1950s to build the Fisher Pool at Ralston Road and Garrison Street, and the adjacent ice skating rink and gym. Both facilities have since been pulled down.
In other metro-area cities, such as Wheat Ridge, recreation is usually a function of city governments rather than a separate recreation district. Local recreational facilities are more evenly distributed throughout cities such as Aurora and Denver which support smaller neighborhood pools and recreation centers, whether they can pay for their own operating expenses or not.
The Arvada City Council recently turned down a request to turn roughly half of the campus of the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities at 68th and Wadsworth Boulevard into a four-level $18 to $25 million aquatics and recreation facility in the style of the existing one on 72nd Avenue. The Council said it would want a lot more community input before it repurposed the land the City has set aside for arts and humanities, and that input could take a year or more to gather.
Also on Apex’s plate is a replacement for the Meyers Pool at 7900 Carr Drive. The City owns the facility, but Apex operates it and has been responsible for its long-term maintenance, and the building that houses the pool has fallen into disrepair. The temporary repairs done at Meyers are only expected to last another ten years at best.
This meeting should not be a discussion of what to actually include in the bond renewal proposal, but rather the process that Apex is planning to go through to get public input for a bond renewal. But the discussion will also be Apex’s first opportunity to hear from the City Council at large as to what its hopes for community recreation in the City are.
The meeting is open to the public, but no opportunity for public comment is expected to be on the agenda. Still, if you are interested in Arvada’s recreational needs, you should come and sit in on the discussion. Here is the official meeting notice from Apex:
P U B L I C N O T I C E
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT A SPECIAL JOINT WORK SESSION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE APEX PARK AND RECREATION DISTRICT AND THE ARVADA CITY COUNCIL WILL BE HELD ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 6, 2015, FROM 6:30 P.M. TO 8:00 P.M., AT INDIAN TREE CLUBHOUSE 7555 WADSWORTH BLVD., ARVADA, COLORADO, TO REVIEW PLANS, POSSIBLE OPTIONS AND PROJECT IDEAS FOR A FUTURE BOND RENEWAL ELECTION. FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT LUANN LEVINE, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT, 303-403-2518
–John Kiljan for the CLRC