Citizen Telegram Letters to the Editor: Rec center & Highway 13
Vote NO on Rifle rec center
I urge everyone to vote “no” on the Rifle recreation center sales tax. This is just another wolf in sheep’s clothing for a tax hike that doesn’t need to be.
Everywhere you look, we are taxed to death. Where does it stop? The city bought the gym over by Walmart for a guinea pig project to gauge interest in a rec center. I haven’t joined it because it costs too much per month; is the rec center going to be the same or more?
Battlement Mesa charges its residents a yearly fee, whether you use it or not. This is just another overreach of government into our lives. If people want a fitness center, how about a private entity like Powerhouse Gym, Gold’s or CrossFit. Something that isn’t another tax for the taxpayers.
The city is like any other form of government, drumming up ways to tax us more. I got an idea: How about cutting some waste in local, county and state government? The proposed rec center is yet another monstrous tax and burden on taxpayers, like the water treatment plant in Rifle for $25 million with less than 10,000 residents.
The city and county are worried because property values have declined the past few years and are looking for ways to recoup money they lost. Remember, when government institutes a new tax, they never repeal it.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of working harder and getting less in return. We are paying more for less. Vote “no” on the Rife rec center, unless you want to pay higher property tax or sales tax, or both.
Editor’s note: A couple of clarifications: The city of Rifle did not purchase the Rifle Fitness Center, it operates it as a partner with the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. And the ballot language states the 0.74 percent sales and use tax will end as soon as the bond issue that raises the money to build the rec center is paid back, or in 30 years. The ballot language does not call for a property tax hike, only a sales and use tax hike.
Highway 13 plan lacking
I attended the Tuesday, July 16, informational meeting regarding future modernization of Colorado Highway 13 from Rifle to the Rio Blanco hill. Counting my wife and two staff members from the Colorado Department of Transportation, six of us were there. Apparently little notice was given out. I got mine from an e-mail, but how many people do? Not many, I guess.
Few people recognize the long-term importance of Highway 13. It happens to be the only logical highway corridor connecting I-70 in Colorado with I-80 in Wyoming between Salt Lake City and Denver. We will eventually get a government administration that recognizes the importance of energy development, so by the time this segment is built, people may be clamoring for a four-lane facility.
Perhaps the “sleeping giant” — oil shale — will awaken before this segment of the highway will be modernized, adding to the urgency of providing a vital transportation link. Funding has been provided for design and some right-of-way acquisition.
Money for any actual construction is probably many years off. Estimated cost for the 12 miles being designed is at least $70 million.
I found the proposed design to be, at best, unimaginative, consisting of widening the present highway, adding shoulders, but not improving bad stretches of curvature sufficiently. A highway of this importance (for safety) should incorporate a design speed of at least 70 mph. Construction north of Rifle, if the plan is followed, will result in traffic stoppages backing traffic down Railroad Avenue into the heart of the city, and as far as Colorado Highway 6. An answer to this is moving the new alignment to the west side of Government Creek from about milepost 2 to milepost 7.
Rec center a pro-healthy move
As a 34-year resident and longtime educator here in Rifle, I am writing in support of the Rifle Recreation and Community Center.
I am an avid swimmer, and would love to have access to a local, year-round pool. Currently, lap swim is available only seven hours a week for 2 1/2 months of the year. The rest of the time, I drive to other communities, such as Glenwood Springs and Battlement Mesa, to swim. That means those cities are getting money that I would rather keep here in Rifle.
And, while having access to a year-round pool appeals to me personally, the center would also provide numerous activities and resources for all of us, contributing to a healthy Rifle community.
Rifle residents and visitors would have access to fitness amenities including a climbing wall, indoor track, community rooms, dance, yoga and gymnastics studios, on top of the indoor lap and leisure pools. The facility would provide programming for all ages and all abilities, especially children and seniors.
Finally, in addition to health and fitness activities, the center will provide a needed location for community events such as health fairs, flea markets, open houses, community art shows and expos.
Join me in being pro-healthy for Rifle and vote yes for the Rifle Recreation and Community Center.
Mary Kay Chesley
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Concrete might not be the material supporting it, but Railroad Avenue between Third and Fourth streets is now open to traffic.