The future of the Mount 7 Rec Plex has been a tough one for Town Council to come to grips with, and despite a lengthy discussion at the last Standing Committee on Finance Meeting, it will continue to operate without a firm direction.
Since the Town took on the facility just over a year ago, the Recreation Department has been trying to increase its usage and accessibility. However long term plans are difficult to put into motion with the building’s current status.
“As of now Council has given no clear indication that this building will still be operating after the end of 2016,” said Jon Wilsgard, CAO of the Town of Golden.
Manager of Recreation Services, Jordan Petrovics, presented to the Standing Committee on Finance a plan to alter the Rec Plex space to allow for multiple users at a time. Although there is no guarantee the facility will remain open past 2016, he has received direction to look into the possible renovations, and come back with a cost estimate.
The committee deliberated over whether they were ready to make a firm declaration on the spot as to whether the facility would continue to operate in 2017, but ultimately left it open. When the rec bookings staff contract comes to an end in December of 2016 council will have to decide whether to renew it or not.
“Economically it’s going to be a struggle no matter what we do…Having said that, I would probably vote to keep it open,” said Coun. Caleb Moss.
Upgrades to the building to keep it running at current levels are estimated at $370,000, which includes flooring, roofing, electrical and plumbing.
The proposed changes to accommodate multiple user groups simultaneously would be in addition to that.
“Of course we have to subsidize this facility and recreation, the question is how much,” said Coun. Bruce Fairley, who has been very vocal in his opinion that user fees for certain Town owned or operated facilities are not high enough.
Town Finance Manager Lisa Vass estimates that the Rec Plex will bring in around $19,000 to $20,000 in revenue by the end of the year. To cover the cost of operating the building, making it self supporting (minus any capital upgrades) the Town would have to charge users six times more than they currently are – which would only work if usage stayed at the same level despite the price increase.
Coun. Leslie Adams was not an advocate of increasing fees, instead saying the Rec Plex should be looked at differently from some of the other Town owned facilities.
“I see the Rec Plex as a sort of indoor park,” she said. “And you don’t charge people to use a park.”