Arvada City Council took the first step in considering the possibility of a new recreation center on Wadsworth Boulevard on the Arvada Center property — and that is developing a new master plan.
During a workshop Aug. 12, Apex Park and Recreation District Executive Director Mike Miles presented a conceptual, early design possibility for the recreation center
As discussed during Miles’ presentation, a possible recreation center would be about 83,000 square feet, compared to the Apex Center’s 105,000 square feet and the Arvada Center’s 144,000 square feet.
The facility could include fitness rooms, an indoor running track, a multi-purpose gym, a lap pool, multiple children’s pools, waterslides, outdoor water features and potentially an indoor skydiving tower created through a private-public partnership. The facility could also include a sculpture garden and pathways.
When Apex’s 20/20 committee, a group of citizens asked to list Apex’s priorities based on the community’s needs, met in 2012, it listed an east Arvada recreation center as its top priority, Miles said.
“One of the things we talked about during that process, consistently in every election we’ve had for facilities or tax increases or anything like that, the marching order we’ve gotten from the community says, "Do not build these things if they do not pay for their own operation,'” Miles said. “So we have to take that into mind in the process of developing an east side recreation center.”
The committee brought up the idea of a recreation center on the city-owned Arvada Center property, and a community survey came back showing support of a recreation center on the site. The conceptual design has a recreation center in the southeast corner of the Arvada Center property.
Miles said this is an opportunity for the arts and recreation to complement each other.
“I see what’s developing there is a combination of what we do and what the arts community does, and that’s a passion for touching lives and making them better,” Miles said. “We both do that in different ways, but achieving the same results. To think with the passion and creativity of the arts and the energy and activity level of recreation brings to the table, we have a unique opportunity to combine something at a site that would generate revenue and participation and interest and change a number of lives.”
In the staff report, though, staff reported that a recreation center is incompatible with the Arvada Center’s current master plan.
“I think the big challenge with this is the compatibility with the Arvada Center master plan, which was approved in 2001, and that was a finding at our workshop last August,” said Arvada Center Executive Director Phillip Sneed. “Nothing we have learned in the intervening year has changed our opinion that this is basically incompatible with the current master plan. We acknowledge that the master plan needs updating, and we welcome an updating of the master plan, but I want to make sure, because these things don’t come around very often, that we do it right.”
Sneed said a recreation center on the site could be compatible with the Arvada Center with master plan revision.
“We don’t feel like there’s been a process for the arts’ community in particular to have input into this,” Sneed said.
Sneed also mentioned the preservation of open space, as listed in the current master plan, and an impact on current Arvada Center operations as other possible incompatibilities between the centers.
City staff recommended taking about a year to revise the master plan, which would cost about $175,000 — taken from $1 million set aside of strategic initiatives — and include an opportunity for public input.
After council asked numerous questions and expressed their own concerns, the majority decided to support staff’s recommendation.
“We have recognized a need in the eastern part of Arvada over two planning periods — original Vision 20/20 committee and the reconstitution of Vision 20/20 — followed up by research and a survey that has made a pretty solid case that there is a, one, a need for something of this nature,” Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Zenzinger said. “Two, it’s the desire of a majority of people who responded to the survey; and three, we know it can’t be possible unless we are able to ensure it’s a viable, sustainable facility. Given those three things, and other property availability in eastern Arvada, this is a really strong case for why this could be an appropriate site and a very good marriage between the two. We haven’t gone down the road of looking at all instances in which they could complement each other, but it’s not unheard of.”
Following staff’s recommendation, council gave staff direction to revise the Arvada Center master plan, which is likely to begin in 2014. Council did not commit to having a recreation center on the site, but only to revising the master plan and exploring the possibility of a recreation center.
“There are very few public investments we can make that have the opportunity to turn things over and make a positive impact, and this is something we can do … I think there are a lot of positives here. I think it’s worth exploring, and I think we should move forward,” Zenzinger said.
Miles said he thinks it is worth waiting for the master plan revision to be completed.
“If both entities decide this site is in the best interest of the community-at-large, we’ll figure out a way to make it work,” he said. “It’ll behoove us to look at other sites during this process, but I think with special as this facility could be at this site, I think it’s worth a little extra wait.”