Guest column: Time to step up again, Rifle
Having lived in Rifle for only 33 years, I was not one of the kids who had to get bussed to Glenwood Springs to learn to swim, or spend my summers swimming in Fravert Reservoir.
But I have always been proud of the way the Rifle community has taken the responsibility to provide the amenities that our community needs for its families to have a great quality of life. In the mid 1960s, people like the Swallows, the Esteses, the Dagues, the Litwiellers and many others saw a need for a swimming pool and tennis courts, and formed the Rifle Metro Park District. Supported by the taxpayers of the district, a pool was built, and the first generation of Rifle kids learned to swim at home.
In the late 1980s, at the lowest point of the oil shale bust, a new Metro Park board, including Daryl Meisner, Mary Gonzalez, Sandy Vaccarro and Phil Antes, discovered that the pool was in severe disrepair and would have to be shut down. In 1987, another vote of the people to increase the tax mill levy for the district was successful and the pool was saved and improved for another generation of Rifle kids.
My four children all benefitted from the foresight of the Metro Park Board and the generosity of Rifle voters. They learned to swim and were able to participate on the Rifle Stingray swim team in the 1990s. Even then, the pool was too small to hold our own swim meets, but it was a great place for kids in the summer.
Twenty-five years later, another generation faces the same issue. The pool, built for a community of 2,500, is way too small for a city of 10,000 and again in serious need of repair. This time, a group of people, who have been working on the Rifle Recreation and Community Center for more than three years, have the foresight to ask the voters to build something that will serve more than just the kids’ summer swimming needs.
The proposed Rifle Recreation and Community Center will be a year-round facility for all of us, from the youngest kids to those of us senior citizens trying to stay fit. It’s a big step from a small outdoor pool, but Rifle has come a long way in 50 years.
It’s time for another generation to step up and build what Rifle needs for our community in 2013. We have the example of our parents and grandparents to follow. Let’s not drop the ball.
In the Sept. 10 election, vote yes on ballot item D for a new Rifle Recreation and Community Center.
Sally Brands of Rifle is a general contractor with JBS Construction. She served on the Garfield School District Re-2 school board, Rifle Downtown Development Authority and other civic boards in Rifle. Sally and her husband, John Savage, raised four children in Rifle and are expecting their first Rifle grandchild this month.
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