Trails, a Rec Center, more facilities
By Mark Reaman
Trails appear to be the recreation priority of residents within the Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District. Met Rec conducted online surveys this fall that resulted in 262 public responses and 20 more from local Recreation Stakeholders in the valley. According to the executive summary, “Summer and winter community connector trails ranked the highest among recreation needs that respondents feel Met Rec should support.”
Met Rec district manager Hedda Peterson said that at a sub-district level, “A Rec Center/pool was identified as the ‘greatest need’ among north sub-district residents, followed closely by trails. In the south, sub-district trails were identified as the greatest need and included specific trail needs such as connector trails, safe urban trail routes and trailhead infrastructure.”
Peterson said Recreation Stakeholders made clear that Met Rec’s continued financial support for recreation amenities is desired. Additionally, Met Rec is being looked at to provide strategic support for complex and collaborative recreation initiatives.
With the 2018 “de-Brucing” of the property tax that funds Met Rec, the organization can now collect the entire one mill on real and personal property in the district that encompasses most of Gunnison County. The financial results show that the district collected $389,000 in tax in 2016 and it should collect about $624,500 in 2019. That has allowed the board to budget recreation grants for $86,266 this year, compared to $17,748 in 2016.
A Strategic Recreation Needs Assessment report has been compiled as a result of the survey. The survey responses broke down to show that 192 responses came from the north valley while 70 were received from the south valley. While trail infrastructure topped the desires, other responses included the need for a rec center; more hockey facilities with refrigerated ice; additional field space for soccer; trail and backcountry stewardship and etiquette support; and youth programming.
Stakeholder responders also brought up the need for more facilities at both ends of the valley as well as the need to help alleviate high program and equipment costs. They mentioned that the Met Rec could help diversify the demographics of those using recreational facilities in the area and help conduct outreach efforts to the immigrant community to let them know of recreation opportunities.
Individual responses included the desire for more and better television; the desire to not fund over-the-air TV anymore; the request for a gate that limits growth; the idea to funnel more money into the local agriculture community; staffing for after-school programs; easier trails in the north end of the valley; lots of requests for a public pool in the north end of the valley; year-round ice; dog poop stations; a hiking club; less marketing; campgrounds near Crested Butte; and art education.
During a work session by the Met Rec board on Wednesday, November 20, the board decided to hold a follow-up work session to be held on December 18 in conjunction with the recreation advisory committees to discuss strategic next steps. That meeting will be held in Crested Butte at 4:30 p.m. at the Crested Butte Town Hall. The public is welcome to attend.