Discussion Opens for Possible Lamar Recreation Center

Students at Community Building

Students at Community Building


Could Lamar support a full-time community recreation center and what would be the best approach to developing one?  These and similar questions were discussed during an initial, exploratory meeting held by Jessica Medina, an employee of High Plains Community Health Center this past Friday, January 16.

“We’ve noticed an increased level of interest in physical fitness in town since Healthy Places and LiveWell have begun a campaign to overcome obesity levels for kids and adults in Lamar,” she told the gathering of about a dozen people who met recently at the Adult Health Care facility off Kendall Drive.  “More people are walking and more people are riding bikes,” she commented.

Medina said she was looking for assistance and guidance in forming a committee that would find revenue sources to finance a consulting team which would be hired to develop a center and fund its construction.  She said the key to the project will be an investment banker who would play a multi-purpose role in lining up funding, a contractor and architectural designs for a recreation center.  Medina had contacted centers in Arvada and Cortez to see how their operations were developed.

“The Community Building in Lamar was specifically designed as a meeting center, not so much as a recreation center,” she told the gathering.  The Apex Center in Arvada, which was used as an example during the meeting, is larger than the one being considered for Lamar.  It features several swimming pools, skating and hockey rinks, a climbing wall and other features for a community of about 110,000 residents.  “Lamar’s center would be scaled down and would probably be situated on at least five acres of land for future expansion,” she said.  The estimated cost of the Arvada Center when it was built over ten years ago was in the neighborhood of $20M.

A group of Lamar citizens tried to develop funding and community support for an indoor pool twenty years ago when the local outdoor pool was in severe need of repairs.  Several cost options were offered, ranging from $1.5 to $4.5M but the pool was never approved.  The Lamar pool had been closed for one full season for major infrastructure repairs before it re-opened in its current format.  Quite a few residents have said they would make more use of an indoor pool if it could be opened year-round like the one in La Junta.  Medina said she’d be in contact with the City of Lamar, PCDI and DoLA and develop a list of funding agencies for their advice on the venture.  “It took four ballot tries before the Arvada community voted to approve their Center,” she said.  She estimated the cost of developing a consulting team would range from $40,000 to $200,000.

By Russ Baldwin

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