Pagosans react to rec center proposal

Staff Writer


By Ed Fincher
Staff Writer
In last week’s SUN article about the public input meeting concerning the proposed community recreation center, audience member Cynda Green was misquoted.
It was reported that Green said, “We have been in a recession and let me tell you, Pagosa Springs does not need this.”
What she said was, “So we have been to the Wheat Ridge rec center, and let me tell you, Pagosa Springs is not Wheat Ridge.”

The proposed Pagosa Springs community recreation center has sparked quite a bit of interest amongst the local population, if the attendance at Monday night’s public input meeting is any indication, but it is still difficult to tell how many people are in favor of the idea and how many are opposed.

All of the seats were full and people were standing along the walls of the south conference room in the Ross Aragon Community Center when town council member Kathie Lattin introduced Tom Carosello, the director of the town’s parks and recreation department.

However, Lattin, in an attempt to encourage an open and honest dialog, may have made a mistake by saying, “At the end of the presentation we are going to take questions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask them in the meantime. Just raise your hand and we will acknowledge you.”

This may have inadvertently made a few audience members feel like they had permission to continuously interrupt the proceedings.

Carosello began by describing how the idea of a rec center came about as a result of a community survey in 2006. He then showed a slideshow of the architectural plan and designs for the facility from 2008.

When Carosello mentioned the size of the building, 44,674 square feet, an unidentified audience member asked him to compare it to the size of a football field and, when Carosello described the proposed location of the facility, south of Yamaguchi Park between the high school and the river, the audience member interrupted with questions about the sewer lagoons located in the area.

“Those are going to be decommissioned if things go as planned,” Carosello explained, referring to a proposed pipeline that will pump the town’s wastewater to the Vista Treatment Plant operated by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District.

Carosello continued his presentation by showing slides with an artist’s rendering of the exterior of the building, but before he could move on he was interrupted again by the same man, who asked how long the building would be. While Carosello patiently reiterated that the size of the building would be just over 44,000 square feet, the heckler asked for the length of the front of the building, either in feet, yards, meters or miles.

“I don’t have the exact measurements,” Carosello conceded, “but I can look it up for you.”

Carosello went on to highlight the features of the building — a gym, climbing wall, lap pool and leisure pool — including pictures of similar amenities from other rec centers throughout the state. In particular, Carosello pointed out that the rec center proposed for Pagosa Springs is similar to the one in Cortez, since the demographics for both communities are similar.

Throughout Carosello’s presentation, the interruptions continued to escalate in frequency and irrelevance.

When former town council member Mark Weiler took over, explaining his background and expertise in finance, including being the president of Parelli Natural Horsemanship and on the board of directors for First Southwest Bank, the interruptions continued. Weiler maintained a professional demeanor throughout his part of the presentation, choosing to ignore the interruptions.

When he finished his discussion of the financial aspect of the project, he opened it up to questions from the audience. One person asked how many people live in Archuleta County (approximately 13,000) and argued that since Montezuma County has 54,000, it isn’t fair to use the Cortez rec center as a basis for Pagosa’s.

Later research revealed the population of Montezuma County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, was 25,535 in 2010, not 54,000.

The same person asked why 700 voters from the town of Pagosa Springs get to make the decision on this issue for the 13,000 residents of Archuleta County. “Why can’t it be the whole county?”

“Because the county commissioners have not earned the same respect that the town council members have,” Weiler responded. “You don’t have home rule in the county. We have home rule in the town. Home rule allows the town to do things the county cannot. The way to get to where you want to be is for the county commissioners to earn the same level of respect from the people who elected them to give them the power to have home rule.

“It’s a nuance of Colorado law, and to be perfectly honest, I would prefer to have one entity, home rule, everybody votes, but that’s not what exists. Those are the rules of the game. The laws of the state of Colorado are what they are.”

“I’m a brand new businessman in town,” one audience member said. “Essentially, the town for the last five years has been cutting budgets because things are tight, and they have done a good job. They have watched their money and I have respect for that, but what this will do is increase their income by fifty percent. It’s not one cent more for a cup of coffee; it’s fifty percent.

“It seems like if they are going to get fifty percent more money, going from a two-cent tax to a three-cent tax, there’s a lot they could do with a fifty percent sales tax increase, but we’re putting it all into a nineteen million dollar Taj Mahal. As a business person, I see a lot of people who don’t want to pay an eight-cent sales tax on everything they buy. People don’t appreciate the seven percent they are paying now.”

Referring back to Weiler’s earlier comment about the county, Lattin explained she had not heard any feedback from the county commissioners, so Christine Funk from the Friends of Reservoir Hill, who would later speak about why the community needs a rec center, asked county commissioner Michael Whiting, who was the only member of that board present in the audience, to comment.

However, before Whiting could respond, another audience member, Cynda Green, spoke up. “We have been in a recession and let me tell you, Pagosa Springs does not need this. To me, to be quite honest, it is unethical for you to just do whatever you can to convince nine hundred voters that the entire county has to pay an extra one percent sales tax for this thing. It’s just a monstrosity. It’s a cruise ship. Let’s call it the SS Pagosa Springs Rec Center. Those photos you’ve shown make it look like a cruise ship.”

It was at this point the mood of the room shifted when a person in the back of the audience interrupted Green to ask, “Do you have kids?”

Many audience members were young couples, and several had brought their children to the meeting with them. One young mother said, “Thank you,” to the gentleman who interrupted Green, and many began to applaud.

Weiler responded directly to Green, “I am a fact-based decision-maker, and when I look at this project, I look at a survey that was done, not only with town residents, but with the county as well as part-time residents. I have a response of over twenty percent, unheard of in a direct-mail survey. The number one or number two request from all of those people was a rec center. This community has suffered for a long time from a lack of things for our children to do.”

Several audience members then began to speak up in favor of the project, pointing to successful rec centers in towns such as Moab or Winter Park, which are similar to Pagosa both in terms of the size of the community and the availability of outdoor recreational opportunities.

Funk was the next presenter, outlining the many benefits of the rec center for local citizens. Last year, she helped lead the effort to prevent town council from installing several mechanized recreational amenities on Reservoir Hill. The town’s proposal was developed by the Town Tourism Committee and included a chairlift, a treetop zip-line course and an alpine coaster.

At that time, Funk and her fellow members of the Friends of Reservoir Hill group complained that the Reservoir Hill project came from the TTC, not the parks and rec commission. The group asserted the plan would benefit tourists while destroying the park for locals and was being forced on the citizens by town council, coming from the top down instead of being a grass-roots movement by the people.

At Monday’s meeting, however, Funk gave a detailed argument as to why the rec center proposal would be beneficial for the people of the community.

When she was finished, local business owner Greg Giles stood up and described how expensive it was to take his family all the way to Durango to use that community’s rec center. One of his young children was with him, and politely raised his hand to ask a question. “How deep is the pool going to be?”

Several audience members clapped, and Carosello laughed as he described the leisure pool for the young person. Everyone appreciated the deeper implications of the child’s question: kids don’t care about the political bickering of adults, they just want a safe place to play.

After the meeting, when asked if she was worried about how the proposed rec center might affect her business, The Springs Resort general manager Carla Shaw explained that she might lose a few customers, but then said, “I am a parent and a community person first, and a business person second.”

This story was posted on December 12, 2013.

46 Responses to Pagosans react to rec center proposal

  1. New Resident

    December 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

    While we moved here to simplify life a bit, we also realized that there is little to offer children here compared to what we are used to (and compared to most areas near us) – but we were encouraged by the discussion of a rec center. We have 4 (4-14) and homeschool. We live out of town quite a ways but would MUCH RATHER keep our work and play and purchases within Pagosa vs driving to Durango and spending our money and time there. Keeping it local at all costs!!! As a family and even from the POV as future empty nesters, THIS is an expense we feel would benefit the town. The children are the future and this would assist in bringing more young families to the area. Perhaps a compromise on the initial size with the option to expand later would appease more residents? We hope this moves forward and would be open to additional expense on our part to see this come to fruition……kudos to the families that showed alongside their children to have their voices heard.

  2. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Why should everyone else pay for your kids indoor recreation? Maybe you could send them to public schools, we all already pay for that. Plenty of recreation there.

    There is a history of poorly thought out attempted gigantic tax and spending initiatives in this city/county, all of them seem to be eventually reduced to whining about being “for the children”.

    Exactly how many children are there in this county who are lacking in recreational opportunities? 500? 1000? 100? And everyone in the county should be taxed and spend $40M on this? Absurd.

    This is a good article here, but also look at the Pagosa Daily Post website for more detail on just how stupid and corrupt this idea is.

  3. NR

    December 12, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for your input. However, the schools cannot adequately provide for our children as we believe they should be educated. I would not subject the children to that only for sports. The school system wasn’t created for extra curricular activities, it was created as a house of educational learning. The focus on so much extra curricular is actually the downfall and shortcomings of many ISDs. I’m sorry, but for us ISD isn’t the answer to athletic/socialization activities. Bottom line, people will go elsewhere if the opportunity isn’t here. They will go elsewhere for purchases, activities, etc. It’s not opinion, but fact. For our children, we will spend our time and $$ where they get the most benefit and opportunity we can afford. And what about those that cannot afford to do that? Many times those with these beliefs of being against any growth and change or expense for the youth (AKA: FUTURE) of the community, are the ones that would rather see the town slowly die than to grow alongside it. I’d like to know what people of such mindset consider worthwhile spending…..

  4. Brian Griffin

    December 12, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Hey AJ, try to pay attention. Who said anything about $40 million? And if you think the daily post is reputable, you probably support Castro in Cuba, too.

  5. Kemo Sabee

    December 12, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Its just fair to the citizens of the County if they are going to have to pay for it they should have the ability to vote for it.

  6. NR

    December 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I TOTALLY agree with this! I think all should have a voice that will be affected.

  7. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    A responsible parent would not try to guilt trip the rest of society into paying for their kids’ recreation. What kind of values are they being taught with that?

  8. NR

    December 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    You’re completely correct and spot on. It’s a totally free program at no personal family/individual cost and we would all be leeching off you with the “40 million cruise ship”. Thanks for such an in depth and thoughtful response. With that, I’m done discussing with you. If you have your way, we will all spend our money/move elsewhere and only those will live here that are childless or rely on the ISD for everything (homeschoolers nation wide pay taxes for the local ISD, but have no use for it – should we cry too? Or is it that we understand that those programs benefit those unable to homeschool and ideally we want all to have a great education/opportunity?). Let’s hope the majority (whether they agree with the Rec Center or not) will not have the same ideals and “facts” as you. If so, we may have chosen the wrong place to relocate to with children.

  9. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I agree with the leeching comment. If you can’t afford to live here and raise kids you shouldn’t, and you shouldn’t expect others to pick up the tab Far too much of that going on lately. I suppose you think Obamacare is a great idea too.

    Look the rec center is a bad idea on so many fronts it is hard to pick just one. It costs far too much relative to the size of the area. It is funded through taxing people with no right to vote on it, many who already have a rec center in Pagosa Lakes (maybe you should move there?). And it takes precious funds away from other more immediate needs. Has everyone forgotten the Great Recession? We will have on average 4-5 more recessions in 20 years. Look at cities like Stockton CA who spent far too much on projects like this and went bankrupt.

    There will be a point in the not too distant future when we will need real money to do real things. And it won’t be there because we spent 40M (or whatever) on exercise toys and a big empty building for a few people.

  10. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I agree with this 100% too, but I also think the proposed plan borders on the absurd.

  11. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Add it up, over 20 years. 18M to build, +1M yr to run.

    Perhaps you ought to read the discussion there, I do not endorse the paper itself. What is being presented by the proponents of this is a fantasy.

    Even 10M would be crazy.

  12. Brian Griffin

    December 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    AJ – why are recreation centers popping up all over Colorado (and the nation) if nobody should be interested? Is it a national conspiracy forged by 7- and 8-year-olds? Or, could it be that some folks care enough about the wellness factor in their communities to achieve such goals? The rec center WILL NOT take away precious funds from other projects. If you don’t understand the financing and expenditure vs. revenue stream, go to the next meeting and educate yourself. Or, you could move to Mancos; I understand they don’t have a rec. center there.

  13. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Actually I am pretty well educated on this issue, I wonder if you are? Are all those rec centers approved by a only a minority of the people affected by the funding obligations? I don’t think so. Are they all as large and expensive relative to the size of the local population? I don’t think so. Do those other cities have places like Pagosa Lakes who are not allowed to vote which have their own rec centers? i don’t think so.

    Get your facts straight. The main fact left out of this discussion for the last few months was that only a small fraction of the people being taxed for this get to vote on it. For some reason up until recently that was not really discussed. It was all going to be funded by “tourists”. Ha. Typical.

    Furthermore the majority of people paying for it (Pagosa Lakes residents) already have their own rec center that is paid for completely, and don’t need or want another one.

    I am not against a rec center, if the town wants one they should pay for it themselves. Higher property taxes on city limit properties would be one way. Taxing people with no voice in the process is criminal or should be.

  14. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    It is believed that Samuel Johnson once said “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”, the inference being false patriotism.

    I think we can update that by a bit: saying ‘it’s for the children’ to justify bloated corrupt civic projects is maybe the new last refuge of a scoundrel.

  15. Brian Griffin

    December 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I believe the town is paying for this. All business within the town limits would see a one penny increase in sales tax. If you’re a business in the county you will not see that increase. I guess if you don’t want to pay an extra penny on the dollar don’t shop in town. The county has received a free ride through the town by letting the town take the lead on these projects. If projects are approved all residents benefit from that project. If this passes, the county gets use of a building that they are not responsible for or have to pay one dime towards. Sounds like a win for the county and there residence. No responsibility.

  16. Cynda Green

    December 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    To author Ed Fincher:

    I listened to a recording of my comments, which you misrepresented in your article above. A transcript follows.

    (Christine Funk did not have the floor and was not recognized by Mark Weiler, who was the presenter taking questions from the audience.) This is what occurred:

    Funk (blurted out unrecognized): Is Michael Whiting in the audience?

    Cynda Green (Me): Yes he is. (To Mark Weiler) I had my hand up first.

    Weiler: I know. I’m looking at you, and I’m saying “Please, go right ahead.”

    Green: Okay. So we have been to the Wheat Ridge Rec Center, and let me tell you, Pagosa Springs is not Wheat Ridge.

    To me, to be quite honest, it is unethical for you to just do whatever you can to convince nine hundred voters that the entire county has to pay an extra one percent sales tax for this thing. It’s a monstrosity. It’s a cruise ship. Let’s call it the SS Pagosa Springs Rec Center. Those photos you’ve shown look like a cruise ship…”

    Matt DeGraaf (sitting next to me which is why he sounds loud) talked over me: Do you have kids?

    Green (at same time DeGraaf interrupts by talking over): We’ve got recreation.

    Woman in back: Thank you very much.

    Other thank yous and some clapping.

    It’s interesting how you portrayed only the “heckler” — who was way out of line — and me in negative terms. You left out portions of the dialogue, added your own narrative, with the end result of portraying me as a rude participant.

    As you listen to the tape, you will hear I said nothing about a recession, although you quoted me as saying so. If you’ve been to the Wheat Ridge Rec Center, you would understand my comment.

    I interrupted no one. I waited my turn to be called on by Mark Weiler. I was interrupted. Yet the tenor of your article was that I was a rude participant — practically on the level of the unknown heckler.

    Furthermore, I interpreted the “Thank you” from the woman in back as a thank you to me, not to Matt DeGraaf. How do you know differently? You wrote that she was thanking DeGraaf, not me. How did you conclude that?

    Your opinion came through much more than the facts, Ed. I don’t mind being quoted in context and correctly, but neither occurred in this instance and I feel the end result was disparaging.

    Cynda Green
    Anyone wanting a copy of the audio may email me at

  17. Rod Proffitt

    December 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    PLPOA sometimes gets comments from property owners who complain they should not have to pay assessments because they do not use it. Actually, assessments are lower because the rec center brings in more than it costs to run. In addition, the amenity is for all property owners, and whether or not people decide to use it, their property values are enhanced by this amenity and the quality of life for PLPOA property owners is enhanced as a result of the rec center. Now the town has to decide what they want to foster as a community with this rec center initiative. So often, the easiest taxes to pass are those that put a burden on people who do not vote for it….take the town and county tourism taxes we use for marketing. Tourists basically pay that tax, but locals voted it in. I don’t see any good reason for someone in the county complaining about not being able to vote on a town tax; it is how our system functions. If it was so gosh darn important to them, then consolidate the town and county like the City & County of Denver or the City and County of Broomfield. Do something positive with all that angst. The same system that allows taxation without representation also allows for a way to get representation. A consolidated town and county makes a great deal of sense to me, and I think home rule means better government too.

  18. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Wrong. The town annexed all commercial areas even the ones in Pagosa Lakes. Entire 160 corridor. Virtually all retail in Archuleta county is “town”.

    edit: which means only town residents living within city limits get to vote on taxes, but residents not in town have no voice but pay most of the taxes. Pagosa Lakes residential is not town, nor is most of AC. I believe this was done on purpose for just this sort of thing.

  19. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Go Cynda!

  20. ajpagosa

    December 12, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    “I don’t see any good reason for someone in the county complaining about not being able to vote on a town tax; it is how our system functions.”

    You can’t possibly be serious. The town annexed near all commercial areas precisely in order to not let people who used them vote on tax increases. That isn’t fair and maybe illegal. Maybe a class action lawsuit could fix it.

  21. Brian Griffin

    December 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I find it amusing that Cynda is cool with printing accusations, pure fiction and speculation about everyone else in her buddy’s cyber rag, but when someone turns the table, she takes it personally. By the way, I trust Ed’s account over hers any day of the week.

  22. Brian Griffin

    December 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Your interpretation is only mildly accurate. Do you think the town did this while the county wasn’t looking? By the way, you have the option to NOT shop within town limits in, say, Durango. But understand that if you shop there, you will be paying one penny toward their rec center. Yes, their rec center “conspiracy” is alive and well.

  23. Guest

    December 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Do you guys do drugs at these meetings? if so count me in. It kind-of sounds like you do but you just tell everyone that it’s a bunch of grown up talk and then spew your arguments on the internet so no-one will find out how awesome it is.

  24. Brian Griffin

    December 12, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    A fantasy? You do realize that if you go to Durango, Cortez, etc., pay an admission fee and jump in the pool, it makes a splash, right? Or do you think those buildings and everything they house are simply figments? Point being – what is being proposed is not unrealistic; rec centers are funded in the manner presented. And again, if you think the authors over at the post are credible (or fair) YOU live in a fantasy world.

  25. Brian Griffin

    December 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Mark Twain said, “Never argue with an idiot. People watching may not be able to tell the difference.” I hope people watching this issue unfold will educate themselves enough to be able to argue with people (and have spectators be able to tell the difference).

  26. Brian Griffin

    December 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Get YOUR facts straight. There are several communities smaller than this one in Colorado that have rec centers much larger than the one proposed. Nobody has ever tried to hide the fact that only town residents will get to vote (if the county commissioners were interested in commenting publicly on this proposal, surely they would have been engaged by now). Do you really think the town annexed the business corridor all those years ago and had the stealthy foresight to envision springing the rec center issue in 2013? If so, it would be the greatest conspiracy (and most clever) I’ve ever encountered.

  27. Brian Griffin

    December 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I agree, also. I think what’s missing from the string of arguments here is the fact that some folks who won’t get to vote are upset because they are in favor of the proposal and won’t have a voice.

  28. ajpagosa

    December 13, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Well I guess that means I should not argue with you.

    But I will so that people who have been misled on this topic will at least be informed enough to form their own opinions.

    But sadly most of those affected won’t be allowed to VOTE on it.

  29. ajpagosa

    December 13, 2013 at 6:45 am

    LOL, your definition of inaccurate is amusing. Bottom line, no one outside of city limits can vote on this. And once again Durango has not disenfranchised the majority of the area population.

    Funny how you tax and spenders whine about people having a voice in a process except when you want to steal money from them.

  30. ajpagosa

    December 13, 2013 at 6:47 am

    This is getting tiresome. Once again, Durango and other areas had a vote of the majority of the people affected by the tax. That is being subverted here. Their center is appropriate in size and cost to their population. The one proposed here is not. We already have a rec center serving the majority of people being taxed for the new one. Which among its features is PAID FOR and generates a budget SURPLUS. Get it?

    This is not hard to understand, unless you just don’t want to. Or are impaired in some way. Let me know if you need smaller words.

  31. ajpagosa

    December 13, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Wow, amazing, Then why not put it up for vote across the whole county, and work with the county to make it a county rec center? Uh maybe because they know it would not pass, they tried before and it FAILED. Do your homework.

    Again I am not against a rec center, I am against one funded in this manner and not open to input from the whole community (via review and a VOTE by all affected).

  32. ajpagosa

    December 13, 2013 at 6:58 am

    So Brian when your argument lacks merit here you stoop to personal attacks? Whatever floats your boat. Now go fetch the tennis ball.

  33. Brian Griffin

    December 13, 2013 at 7:26 am

    OK one last jab then I’m done with you. You said Durango did not disenfranchise their folks, right? Well there are only 17,000 people in town limits over there but about 52,000 in La Plata County. Only town residents got to vote over there, yet no one is storming town hall with flaming pitch forks. See a pattern here? Probably too dense to grasp the fact that some communities are far more progressive than ours, but hey, at least the town voters will get a chance to prove we’re not ALL a bunch of bitter rubes.

  34. Brian Griffin

    December 13, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I would love to fetch a tennis ball, but not only do we not have a real rec center, we don’t have any public tennis courts, either.

  35. ajpagosa

    December 13, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Sorry, not going to engage you anymore. Gotta go snowboard dude, enjoy your mendacious distortions. At least now other folks have a basis to look into this matter on their own.

  36. Kemo Sabee

    December 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Wow that was fantastic. Keep up the great work!

  37. ajpagosa

    December 14, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Is this that new liberal progressive fuzzy math?

    One more time. Your example has no relevance at all. Even if the #’s are correct. Here in Pagosa only a small percentage of county voters get to vote on it. A few hundred compared to 10,000 or more county residents.

    Furthermore non Durango residents in La Plata county do not already support a major rec center of their own.

    Finally I doubt ALL retail in La Plata is in the city limits of Durango though I may be wrong on that, I do not know enough to say. And I know Durango does not have giant suburbs dwarfing the city in population who are not allowed to vote on tax issues, but whose retail centers are city.

    It is a shame and frankly disgraceful what the once noble terms liberal and progressive have come to mean. It used to be about freedom and open-mindedness. Being lazy and stupid is supposed to hurt. Under the new liberal ethos, it is to be celebrated and even rewarded by taking things away from people who earned them and giving them to people who didn’t. In order to buy political power.

  38. ajpagosa

    December 14, 2013 at 9:32 am

    It’s a Family Guy reference for those of you who don’t watch cartoons. Brian has taken the name of a character on the show, who is the family’s talking dog. A liberal progressive talking dog, who smokes a lot of pot and drinks heavily.

  39. ajpagosa

    December 14, 2013 at 9:57 am

    You forgot the math.

    Brian found my pic page, clever little guy. Be aware of the kind of person we have here, who engages in these sorts of invasive personal attacks when he is losing an argument.

  40. Brian Griffin

    December 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Look, I’m not saying I am happy with the current setup, either. But town residents could use your argument with respect to parks, ball fields, and other rec amenities. Most of the heavily utilized public rec amenities (not counting the nat forest) in this county are within town limits, but over 80 percent of those who use them live outside town boundaries. The town bears the burden of maintenance, with almost no financial assistance from the county, but the town does not charge a county resident admission to the Riverwalk, for example. Your argument gives the impression that town residents are purposely trying to stick it to the rest of us when, in fact, there is no alternative (currently).

  41. ajpagosa

    December 15, 2013 at 5:39 am

    You seem to be saying the city can’t or barely can afford to do even the basic maintenance of existing rec facilities, how is going deeply in debt and incurring an additional 1M+ yearly operating cost going to improve that? Even the proponents of this with all the rosy new retail projections AND the 1% tax admit it will be run at a net loss.

    You realize much of the assumptions about this cost wise include Walmart and Tractor Supply, right? Which you seem to violently oppose as I understand it from your other comments.

    Briefly, I’d like to see some fiscal sanity return to this argument. Get the new big box retail in and running, clear out the impediments to it including the greedy local contractors and foot dragging public employees. Get them built and generating a revenue stream. See what we have, take care of existing needs first.

    Then get EVERYONE in the county together on this. There should be representatives from PLPOA and the County to speak for people who cannot vote on it. I mean come on, PLPOA already runs a rec center at a PROFIT, get them on board maybe you could learn something. Maybe we have 3 smaller rec centers and they have some cooperative membership agreement who knows.

    Then come up with a better plan that enhances whole downtown area, draws people there, not some huge $$$ white elephant off in the middle of nowhere that no one non local will ever see. Something that revitalizes not just the look and feel of downtown which it sadly needs, but the whole experience. Take over the old city market building for example. Or next to the community center. And finally, something that is net revenue POSITIVE or has some realistic hope of being so.

    Once again I am not against a rec center, I am against this one. It is poorly thought out, net revenue negative, and has no input for people directly affected by the huge decades-long financial burden it will place on all of us.

  42. daniel

    December 16, 2013 at 9:02 am

    As an out of state person who is considering pagosa springs for retirement, the proposed recrreation center is a very positive attribute that I would consider in choosing a retirement destination.

  43. Dave

    December 16, 2013 at 9:31 am

    If the rec center tips your scale from not choosing Pagosa over somewhere else then your obviously not in love with the place. If you did retire here, likely that you might live in the PLPOA and have access to that rec center. As a retiree, You might appreciate paying lower local sales tax instead of higher local sales tax. Contrary to popular opinion, Pagosa is not in short supply of recreational opportunities.

  44. Dave

    December 16, 2013 at 10:39 am

    The Rec Center fight is a good fight to have for many reasons. Such a good fight its worth doing it again, and again perhaps. The bad thing about a fight is some people get hurt. The losers get hurt. The winners get beat up as well. The best thing about this fight is that both sides are right and both sides are wrong. The common ground created is the respected understanding that everyone wants Pagosa Springs to be a better place to live & play. Just get past all of this “big town envy” crap & just try to get the Town back to work finishing the Rec “Centered” projects (read River Walk, Town to Lakes Trails, McCabe Creek Park) that have already be started or approved. The Town has full plate of good, expensive projects. Although not obvious to everyone, because of the price tag & who has to pay for it, the Rec Center should be more of a Archuleta County Government pursued project.

  45. pagosanative

    December 17, 2013 at 10:13 am

    If it benefits our kids in a positive way, it’s a no brainier. I raised three children here in the last 25 years. There was very little for them to do that didn’t cost a fortune. We need to offer a safe healthy environment for them to gather and be kids. It seems to me the only people against this are the ones who have no children. That’s fine I understand that. However, I’m in favor of putting our kids first and not the all mighty dollar!

  46. Capt Powder

    December 18, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I’m just curious what activities your children participated in that were so expensive. Other than the ski area, I can’t really think of anything. The Nat’l Forest, river and Res Hill are free. I’m puzzled when I hear “there’s nothing for the kids to do”. From my perspective there’s plenty to do. What exactly do you think a rec center would provide that’s not already available? If it truly filled a need I’d be in favor of it.
    Could the town effectively manage a rec center? Based on the community center, I’d say no. That’s a big concern for me.