by John Kiljan
Dear neighbors and friends,
For those living in central Arvada who have mourned the day the Fisher Pool (aka, the North Jeffco Pool) was closed down in Ralston Central Park, it’s now or never. The ballots for the Apex bond issue, that will build a replacement pool (and a year-round recreation center) in Fitzmorris Park a short distance from the old pool site, will be mailed out on Monday, April 11th. The ballots will go to every registered voter in the recreation district, and they have to be returned by 7:00 pm on May 3rd.
The Apex Park & Recreation District is asking Arvada residents to reissue – for 20 years – its existing bonds that were used to build the Apex Center on 72nd Avenue. It will do that WITHOUT raising taxes. And it will use that authorization to build six new recreational projects across Arvada – three of which are in or near our central Ralston Road neighborhoods. And one of those is a replacement for the park’s public swimming pool that so many of us grew up with.
Turnout is expected to be low for this vote – possibly 85% of the ballots will be thrown away. So, if you are for this issue, not only is your vote important, but it is important to show your neighbors that you support recreation in Arvada and to ask them to return their ballot as well. That’s what the yard signs are for.
A passing vote is far from certain. But since there is no tax increase, why would anyone not want to okay these projects? Well, the simple answer is that if the bonds are not renewed, property taxes will be LOWERED after the current bonds expire next year.
How much lower? Not much. The best estimate is a little over $11 a year for each $100,000 of your “actual” property value set by the County Assessor using comparable market sales averaged over the last several years. For my own very typical split-level home in the Alta Vista neighborhood, 1.412 mills works out to $26 a year – not even enough to get a six-month oil change done on my car. Still, that’s enough for many to vote against the measure if they don’t understand what these six projects will bring to the City.
My own kids have long since grown and flown. But, like me, many of my fellow seniors are worried about the increasing number of young families who are just now moving back into the older parts of the City looking for starter homes – but only to find that these areas are underserved when it comes to healthy recreational opportunities for young people. Locally, some of the most enthusiastic supporters of this bond issue are senior citizens.
So what should you tell your neighbors when they ask you why you are voting for these bonds? Here’s a list of reasons for voting for the Apex bond issue. They apply mostly to central Arvada, but can apply to projects in other parts of the City as well.
REASONS TO VOTE “YES ON A” THIS MONTH
- It fills a long-standing need. Local neighborhood meetings and surveys have consistently identified the return of the old pool and more recreational opportunities for young Arvadans as this area’s top priority.
- Voting “Yes on A” doesn’t increase your property taxes or the rent you now pay. Apex will simply reissue the existing bonds that were issued to build the Apex Center on 72nd Avenue in 1998. And it will do that WITHOUT a tax increase.
- It will cut down on some of the crowding at Ralston Central Park where the new splash pad and playground are being loved to death by the demand for recreation for small children.
- Fitzmorris Park at 62nd Avenue and Independence Street gets a restroom! No port-a-potties needed! And you will have a place in the rec center to clean up your kids or grandkids after having a picnic.
- The attached recreation center at Fitzmorris Park will provide opportunities for healthy, wholesome recreation for our kids and grownups throughout the year.
- There will be a new warm-water therapy pool at Secrest designed specifically for seniors and those recovering from sports injuries and surgeries.
- Apex will be hosting the SilverSneakers fitness program for seniors at both the Secrest and Fitzmorris recreation centers.
- If the bonds are approved, the adjacent park at Fitzmorris may well generate enough City interest to add walks, picnic pavilions and play areas to the park as part of a larger park improvement plan. If that happens, you might be able to celebrate a high school graduation or birthday there under a nice pavilion without fussing with the reservation-less Ralston Central Park crowds trying to do the same thing.
- For more active adults, the tennis courts on Miller Street get rebuilt with both indoor and outdoor tournament-class tennis facilities!
- Younger families will be attracted to our older central Arvada neighborhoods. For years long-term residents have watched our kids grow up and move away. Only lately have younger families started moving back in. We need both younger and older families to make healthy neighborhoods.
- The Fitzmorris recreation facility and outdoor pool will have safe and easy access for kids on bikes via the Ralston Creek Trail running through the heart of Arvada and via the short school-safe Independence Street route connecting to the Trail. If kids can get to the Ralston Creek Trail anywhere along its length, there won’t be a need for them to deal with busy street crossings to get to the new pool.
- The Fitzmorris facility makes good use of the school grounds and the already available parking during the summer months when school is out.
- The increased car traffic during the summer should still be less than what it is during the school year, when parents are dropping their kids off for classes or picking them up twice a day.
- If the ballot measure passes, the City of Arvada (which is a separate government entity that also supports this project) will contribute over $3 million in matching funds toward the construction of a pool in Fitzmorris Park, as part of a partnership with Apex.
- Easily available public recreation tends to increase property values. Most people see their homes as an investment and often plan to use the value of that investment to help fund their retirement.
- Coming out of the Great Recession of 2008 – 2009, the cost of borrowing money to build new facilities is still at historic lows. It may be decades before interest rates are this low again. Taxpayers can get a lot of building done for every dollar they get from these bonds.
- The proposal is good for local business. The planned improvements at Lutz/Stenger in this bond proposal should attract even more regional visitors to those fields for organized sporting events. Some of those visitors will also be patronizing the businesses in the adjacent Triangle shopping district on both sides of Ralston Road, which is now undergoing redevelopment and could really use the new retail traffic to help it thrive again after decades of decline.
- Your vote matters! Typically, it’s harder to pass funding issues on May ballots when there are usually fewer people voting. Even though the ballot measure will be mailed to every registered voter in the recreation district, many people won’t return their ballots. Voter response is only expected to be about 15%, so your own vote will count a lot more than it does in most elections.
- Promoting the bond reissue is a grass-roots neighborhood effort. No public monies were used in printing up flyers, or producing the yard signs you see popping up in your neighborhood.
- If this bond issue fails, none of these six facilities will be built, including the replacement for the old Fisher Pool.
WHERE TO GET YARD SIGNS
You can pick up yard signs at a dozen different locations in Arvada. For a complete list, go to this website and click on a location closest to you.
If you are a Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community follower and/or receiving this email, you can also pick up a yard sign from my front porch at 6185 Field Street during daylight hours. There’s no need to knock – unless we run out of signs again. We will also deliver locally if you are transportation challenged. Just call 303-423-9875 and ask.
WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION AND HOW TO VOTE
There is an abundance of information available on the internet about this bond proposal and the six projects that go with it. Try these links first:
The Apex Park and Recreation District at
Apex Renewal for All at www.yesonapex.org
And the Denver Post has a recent article in their YourHub.com edition that you can read by clicking on
To vote, simply mark your ballot, put a stamp on it, and drop it in the mail by the end of April. Or you can drive by any of several drop-off locations Apex will set up with ballot dropboxes.
To calculate how much your own property taxes will fall if the ballot measure fails, take your own home’s “actual value” from your property tax statement, and then take 7.96% of that (the residential assessment rate set by the State Legislature) and then multiply that number by 1.412 mills divided by 1000. As mentioned earlier, for my own home that works out to $26 a year (= $229,290 X 7.96% X 1.412 mills /1000).
You can read all of our articles on our main website at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at
c/o John Kiljan, Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004
April 4, 2016