Community Center a financial success |

Community Center a financial success

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Despite challenges facing its pool, the Glenwood Springs Community Center is proving to be a success, even on the financial front, City Manager Jeff Hecksel says.

The center is recovering about 71 percent of its costs, which Hecksel said is “within the ballpark” of the costs governments pay to run such centers elsewhere in Colorado and nationally.

“We’ve been very well supported by the public, and they’re using the facility, and the staff have done a great job of meeting the needs of the people that use the facility,” Hecksel said. “It’s been a great amenity. … I think the facility is a huge success.”

That’s not to say the center hasn’t presented a financial challenge to the city.

“The city basically opened up a brand new community center at the same time sales taxes were declining,” he said.

Sales tax revenues make up the bulk of the city’s revenues and fell off during much of the first half of this decade. Hecksel said that made it hard to pay for not only the community center’s operations but all the other services the city is expected to provide.

Tax revenues have rebounded and the city’s financial situation has improved, however. Likewise, the community center’s budget outlook is looking better.

Through September, the center’s 2006 expenses totaled about $990,600, and its revenues were about $705,000. Its cost recovery rate is 8 percent higher than the city had budgeted for the year, and 6 percent higher than the rate through the same month last year.

Revenues are more than $60,000 higher so far this year than for the same period last year, and expenses are only about $2,000 higher.

Terri Miller, who led the fundraising effort for the pool, wonders whether cutbacks in pool operational hours could result in a membership drop-off at the center. She noted that memberships jumped when the pool opened. But Eric Brendlinger, the city’s acting parks and recreation director, said that increase also reflected other developments then such as the opening of a cardio fitness area.

Passes provide access not just to the pool but to the entire facility. For those who bought passes primarily to use the pool, Brendlinger said, the center has worked with them through means such as free membership extensions while it continues to resolve its problem of reduced pool hours.

The pool fundraising committee has collected nearly $1.5 million, about half of which consisted of a city contribution. Miller said the committee is looking to collect about $166,000 more.

The facility cost more than $3 million, and the city borrowed money to build it. Hecksel said the city is paying off the loan by using profits from the city landfill.

Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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