The City of Salida will present the Draft Centennial Park Master Plan during an open house to be held at 5:30 p.m. January 26 in the SteamPlant Annex; 220 W. Sackett. Public comment will be accepted following the presentation.
The “City of Salida Parks, Recreation, Trails, and Open Space Master Plan” (Master Plan) adopted in 2008 was created to serve as an assessment, vision, and action plan for implementation for existing and future recreation uses in the city. The purpose of the plan was to establish a clear set of goals, policies and objectives that would provide direction to staff and elected officials for enhancement of the community’s parks, trails, open space, recreation programs, services and facilities.
The Master Plan has been successfully used over the past three years to guide improvements and set priorities for the city’s recreation based programs.
The inventory section of the Master Plan identified Centennial Park as “an aging park in an ideal location to serve the tourists and residents alike, it suffers from age and neglect. With proper attention this park could once again be a featured park of the community.” The Hot Springs Aquatic Center was identified as a “focal point” of the community; however, it was noted that its condition has been an issue with the community.
The Master Plan identifies maintenance and improvement of existing facilities as goal number 7. In particular it recommends that a park master plan should be completed prior to any major improvements. ”The focus of Centennial Park should be that of a gateway park for the community; it should be maintained at the highest levels and should provide opportunities for residents and visitors.”
Some of the goals identified for the park include: installation of a new playground (due to age and current playground conditions); renovation or removal of the fitness course (due to age, condition and use); create visual separation between park and recycling area; upgrade site furnishings; improve signage; renovate shelter to be more inviting and interesting.
Goal number 7 also identifies improvements to the Hot Springs Pool as a top priority. It does not however identify what those improvements might be. Many improvements have indeed been made to the Hot Springs Pool over the last several years and records show that those improvements have resulted in increased attendance and revenue.
The Master Plan identifies pursuit of alternative funding to implement improvements. The City of Salida has been very successful in requesting and receiving grant monies. Most recently the City received a Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant in the amount of $440,000, which when matched with funds from a lawsuit and general fund dollars allowed for the water line insulation project, renovation of three soaking pools, renovation of two restrooms, destratification fan installation and the airlock entryway for the pool. We will again pursue alternative funds to off-set plan implementation costs.
Additionally, potential traditional funding opportunities were identified as a means to fund improvements. Traditional funding would likely include some sort of debt issuance in the form of bonds or certificates of participation. Other funding opportunities include creation of a special district or increasing property taxes. Most of these funding opportunities would require a vote of the people for implementation and require much more detailed discussions with City Council and the community.
Staff is currently exploring the possibility of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) funding in the fall 2012 cycle and will be looking at and for other funding options.
Currently identified improvements to the park and pool will no doubt generate more revenue for the pool as well as additional expenses. No improvements come without costs and ultimately City Council will be charged with determining if the added costs will be justified by increased revenue and other economic benefits to the community. The recently remodeled soaking pools, which have been open for 13 weeks have generated approximately $5,000 and have been rented in excess of 360 times. This is a good first blush test of whether people will use the facilities if they are available.
The newly created “Draft Centennial Park Master Plan” identifies several improvements to the pool and park. The draft plan is on display at the pool along with comment cards for written feedback concerning the plan. Other opportunities exist for giving your opinion, which we want and encourage. We will be hosting a public meeting on January 26th at 5:30 pm in the Annex of the SteamPlant, 220 W Sacket Ave. Staff will present the Draft Centennial Park Master Plan. Following the presentation there will be ample time for citizen participation; written comments will also be accepted. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to email@example.com, or call Theresa Casey at 719-539-6738. If you are unable to attend the community meeting, but would like to see the plan you can find it on our website at www.salidarec.com. Your opinion matters.