As we head into 2020, the Pueblo West Metro District is excited to announce that is has made great progress on an Aquatic Center for our community.
I’ve worked for the District since 1995 and since then have heard repeatedly from the community the need for an Aquatic Center. Our community is limited in aquatic facilities; as the Pueblo West High School does not have a pool, the Pueblo Regional Center which is a State run facility allows us a certain number of hours a week to hold our activities during the fall/winter months, and the District’s small outdoor pool is limited in space (140 people), is aging significantly, and is only open 2 ½ months out of the year.
The community voiced its support in 2016 of an Aquatic Center in two ways. Pueblo County ran a ballot initiative “1A” that allocated $1 million to a Pueblo West Aquatic Center that was successfully passed by the voters. Additionally, Pueblo West Metro District voters approved a 10 year time out from the growth limits imposed by Colorado's Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) Amendment specifically dedicating the revenue to “the sole purpose of funding the design, construction, maintenance or lease of a community pool and aquatic facility” (from the ballot language). In years 2016 through 2018, the Pueblo West Metro District's revenue has not exceeded the growth limits imposed by TABOR, and therefore, there have been no excess TABOR funds to retain stemming from the TABOR time out.
Early in 2019, the Pueblo West Metro District Board held a Board Retreat to further develop the District’s priorities and the Aquatic Center remained a priority. In order to make progress towards this project, the Pueblo West Metro District developed an Aquatic Center Committee in 2019. This Committee is comprised of a Pueblo West Metro District Board member, two community members who applied and interviewed for the Committee, one County Commissioner and two Pueblo West Metro District staff members. Over the last few months, the Aquatic Center Committee has been hard at work defining the goals of the Aquatic Center, identifying potential programming and design opportunities and discussing this project at a “Coffee with the District Manager”. While the Aquatic Center Committee is still working on the design and programming of a facility, it remains committed to ensuring that this project meets the needs of the community and is excited to develop something that serves all in our community, regardless of age or ability.
Additionally, the Pueblo West Metro District Board recently approved additional funds to support this project, including funding from the Conversation Trust Fund (State Lottery Funds), and the Marijuana Excise Tax. However as many of you know the Pueblo West Metro District has limited funding and with a $9 million budget to fund all streets and roads, the fire department, parks and recreation, community development and beyond. Therefore, to make this project a reality, additional funding is needed. The Aquatic Center Committee and the Pueblo West Metro District are working on partnerships with other community organizations and private entities to assist in making this financially feasible. We hope to secure these very important partnerships throughout this year.
During 2020, we will be posting our progress on the Pueblo West Metro District website at pueblowestmetro.com which will give you a chance to follow along and be a part of our new adventure! Thank you for all of your support of this important community project.
Carol Cosby is the Pueblo West Metro District Parks and Recreation director. She can be reached at email@example.com.