Keep firm grip on reins of Fraser Rec center project
May 28, 2008
Last week, Fraser Parks and Rec Director Scott Ledin admitted in an article that a walking track and pool ” now a cornerstone of the planned Fraser Valley recreation center ” were not included the original bond proposal because the district felt the community would not support such a “grandiose” facility.
The idea that the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District kept certain things to themselves until voters approved a $19.5 million bond last November not only strikes us as disingenuous, but makes us wonder ” are there more surprises around the corner?
Since the election, the cost of the rec center has slowly climbed to $14.88 million.
Granted, the additional expense has been funded through $1 million in bond proceeds and $596,000 in grants and donations raised by the Fraser Valley Recreation Foundation.
Because of the add-ons, the size of the originally proposed facility has shrunk by 1,000 square feet to stay within budget.
The ground is slowly shifting on this project and we believe it’s time to get our footing back.
Much of the extra funding has come to the district through pledged donations from contractors and developers ” but $100,000 was given to the project by the town of Winter Park when the foundation approached its Town Council for help fund the track. The foundation plans to approach the Fraser Town Council and the county commissioners for a similar amount.
We are left wondering: When did a $400,000 walking track become a Grand County governmental funding priority? Though indoor recreation will be a boon to our community, we have already approved a multi-million dollar bond to pay for the project and grants are available for any add-ons.
If Fraser and the commissioners agree to give $100,000 to the rec center, there goes $300,000 in government money that could have been used to establish a recycling program, as seed money for a desperately needed countywide transportation system or beetle kill mitigation.
As this project moves forward, two hands must be holding the reins. The first hand is that of our municipal and county governments. We cannot let this center become a funding black hole for this county.
The second hand must be the Fraser Rec District itself. The voters put a lot of money and faith in them by passing this bond last November. They must be forward thinking about the ongoing costs. They must be faithful to the original intent and not get so carried away with add-ons and luxury items that they forget what people voted for.