Rifle recreation and community center pros and cons discussed at election forum

Mike McKibbin
Citizen Telegram Editor

A recreation and community center could help drive the Rifle economy, a backer of the proposal said at a Tuesday, Aug. 20, election forum at City Hall.

An opponent countered that the 0.74 percent sales tax (question D on the Sept. 10 election ballot) to help repay a $21 million bond issue that would build the center at Metro Park would push Rifle’s taxes too high.

Angela Strode, co-chair of the Committee for a Rifle Recreation and Community Center, said the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. started studying the recreation center issue seven years ago.

“They looked at all the options but found a sales tax was the best way to fund this,” she said. “I also think that if you say you’re against the sales tax, not the recreation center, but don’t have a viable alternative, you’re against a recreation center.”

Darren Smith of the Rifle No More TAXES citizens group that opposes the sales tax question, said he lives south of Glenwood Springs but is still opposed to seeing Rifle’s tax rate increase.

“To require citizens to forcibly pay higher taxes is wrong,” he said. “Other communities with recreation centers found different ways to fund these. Don’t penalize the people for something they may not ever use.”

Strode noted that on a $200 or $300 purchase, the 0.74 percent tax would mean an extra $2 or $3.

“I think that’s worth adding vibrance to Rifle, attracting people to come visit and maybe open a business here,” she said. “There could be leagues and tournaments held here that would bring hundreds of people to Rifle every time. That will bring economic growth.”

“Placing any kind of a burden like this on the people is not a good deal,” Smith said, noting the possibility of the city owing up to $42 million over the 30-year life of the bonds.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.