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I am excited about the prospect of a recreation center in downtown Pagosa Springs. Recreation defines our community. It is a part of our identity. It is who we are. A recreation center would be yet another reason for people to come and stay here — especially those with young families since many planned amenities are kid-friendly. Visitors as much as locals use the PLPOA Recreation Center, but the amenities are more oriented toward adults or adult-supervised activities for kids. I’ve heard Cheryl Bowdridge, the manager of the Community Center, and Jan Santopietro of the Chamber say that many tourists stop by to inquire where our recreation center is. They are incredulous to find out that we don’t have one!
Not only would many visitors use it, but locals as well. For about the cost of three trips to Durango at $100 a day for a family of four, a family could join our recreation center and use it almost every day of the year without having to pay for gasoline and lunch. Particularly in the winter, when the days are short, to have recreation and fitness opportunities nearby out of the elements for families is a huge benefit.
We need a recreation center for sports programs for our youth. Now, athletic programs are often postponed or canceled due to lack of adequate gym space. Oftentimes, the community center is simply overbooked for the limited space they have. Our schools could actually have swimming teams with the recreation center conveniently located near the high school. Having our young people learn healthy fitness habits and new skills is a great pathway to lifelong fitness.
But it wouldn’t just be for young people. Some of the biggest users of recreation centers are seniors. Pagosa seniors need to stay active, which can be difficult in Pagosa in the winter. To have a warm pool for water aerobics, an indoor track for walking and gym space for sports like badminton and pickle ball will enable our seniors to stay fit and active.
A recreation center would also provide opportunities for community members to socialize and recreate with one another to help foster a close-knit community.
We should have a recreation center in Pagosa Springs. We deserve it. We need it. Now is the time.