Voters will decide whether Cañon City could have a new recreation center by 2024

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CAÑON CITY, Colo. — A new recreation center is being proposed in Cañon City; however, its construction would raise property taxes. The decision will be up to the voters, the measures will be 6A and 6B on November 2021 ballot.

If approved, construction would begin in 2023 with the recreation center opening in 2024. It’s been a project in the works for the last five years. The current and only community pool in Cañon City is more than 50 years old and needs to be replaced.

Both measures will need to pass to get this new recreation center. 6A would fund operations of the new facility, and 6B would pay for the construction costs. If it passes, a property tax increase of about $70 per $100,000 of a home’s actual market value will be needed to fund the project.

“They benefit the quality of life; they enhance the business opportunities. It is a necessary amenity in smaller communities to try and attract and retain people to live there. The fact is that this is a missing piece there are plenty of other communities that have recreation centers now it’s our turn to have that discussion,” executive director of Cañon City Recreation & Park District Kyle Horne said.

The recreation center would be 61,000 sq. ft. facility that will have a lap and leisure pool, indoor track, gym, fitness area and multipurpose rooms. It will be built on 10-acres in an empty field across from the Holy Cross Abbey. The 10 acres of land would cost $1 million.

“It will be cheaper to build on the Abbey land than it would be to build on land that we already own,” Horne added. “So not only are we constructing it for what we can do now and what the community could hopefully afford now, but also for future years.”

Those who are against the measures say it will bring up their property taxes too much.

“It’s going to be $270 on average per homeowner, and an average of $500 a year per business and that is rough figures we got from the county assessor’s office,” gym owner Jim Wallace said.

Wallace has lived in Cañon City for 33 years and has five kids. He says that he understands the community needs a new outdoor pool since the current one has surpassed its lifespan.

“They aren’t giving the community what the community is really asking for. They are bunching a bunch of things and shoveling it all into one thing, hoping it will pass because of the one thing,” Wallace explained.

“The reality is recreation centers provide more cost recovery than aquatic-only facilities,” Horne said.

If the voters decide yes, and the facility is built, patrons will still have to pay fees to be a member or get day passes.

“They want to build a business that will put other businesses out, and they want to do it on our money. You’re going to pay to build it, you’re going to pay to run it, and then you are going to pay to use it and anytime it is falling short, then you will pay again,” Wallace said.

Three similar property tax increases have been proposed in the past which all failed.

If you have further questions about the proposed project, please call 719-275-1578 or email khorne@ccrec.org.

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