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Survey to happen on proposed recreation and aquatics center in Canon City

Posted at 10:22 PM, Jan 20, 2020

CANON CITY — Time is running out for Canon City's aging outdoor pool which is in need of major repairs.

It's why community members are continuing the fight to get a year-round recreation and aquatics center built soon.

A feasibility study has been done as well as community meetings. Come February a survey will be sent to a large majority of residents in the Canon City area. It will ask what they'd like to see and how they should pay for it.

Kyle Horne, executive director of the Canon City Area Recreation & Park District, said, "We have most likely one year, hopefully three, but no more than that left."

That's the harsh reality people in Canon City are facing. The town's 53-year-old R.C. Icabone Pool is on its final leg. While it'll be operational this summer Horne says it's only with a band-aid fix.

"If the sand filters at all start leaking water we are closing the pool...we have to replace the R.C. Icabone Pool. The question is how do we do that?"

The answer from many: build a year-round recreation and aquatics center which could cost around $25-$30 million. With the help of citizen focus groups a survey has been created and will be distributed next month to about 85 percent of people in the Canon City Recreation and Park District boundaries.

Horne said, "There will be many questions as to location, size of the facility, what they're willing to pay for, how they're willing to pay for it and what amenities and programming they want to see."

As far as a location Horne says there's a parcel of land being looked at near the Holy Cross Abbey. Another option is Veterans Park.

When it comes to paying for the facility Horne said, "It can be done with a combination of sales tax to build it and property tax to operate it, or it could just be a straight property tax question."

Resident Karen Sartori said, "I don't necessarily love paying more taxes either, but it is an investment in quality of life."

She's a member of the REC Citizen's Committee, a group who's been central to starting this project.

Sartori said, "I still see it as a really big need for the children of our community, but not only that - senior citizens, families, our law enforcement."

While there's still a lot to be determined when it comes to the proposal Horne said, "At the end of the day it's up to the citizens to determine the direction that we take."

Horne says once the surveys come back results will be tabulated. The goal is that toward the end of April everything from renderings, funding options, and survey results will be presented to the community.

If all goes well the project will end up on the November ballot and if a "yes" vote happens the center could be done in two years.