Apex PRD public input meeting draws big crowd

A large, energetic group of around 130 people, representing many interests and all areas of Arvada, attended the Apex Park and Recreation District public input meeting at the Community Recreation Center, 6842 Wadsworth Blvd., on Thursday evening, March 26.

The gathering was the second of two meetings to gather public input on elements of the district’s community recreation master plan, and a possible strategy to finance these projects by extending the district’s current $25 million revenue bond.

Apex PRD Executive Director Mike Miles opened the meeting with a synopsis of the district’s master plan and the community’s role in supporting recreation. He first thanked the group, noting that it was the largest he’d seen at any Apex PRD public input event since he began working for the district in 1997.

Most of the evening was dedicated to small-group discussions of five possible capital projects. Each table of 8-9 people was asked to vote on whether to affirm these five choices; offer individual and collective insights on their choices; and suggest additional ideas for projects throughout the district. After the breakout session, the whole group reconvened and listened to the results, presented by a spokesperson from each table.

Of the five listed projects on the master plan, renovation of the Arvada Tennis Center garnered widespread support among the attendees at the March 26 meeting, as well as at an earlier public-input meeting held in January.

Many attendees also spoke to the needs of the central, south and east portions of Arvada and the pros and cons of another identified master plan project, a multipurpose east side recreation center.

Two other facilities, Harold D. Lutz Sports Complex and Long Lake Ranch Sports Complex, figure into the master plan list and also received significant support; the scope and quality of existing youth sports programs is a significant community asset and the demand for youth sports is ongoing and growing, supporters noted.

The Apex Center, the district’s large multi-use facility, is also a project on the master plan list for consideration during the public input process. As a revenue-generator that draws a million visitors a year, some of its features are being “loved to death,” some meeting attendees noted.

The groups also suggested a number of ideas that weren’t on the list. Some suggested collaboration between the tennis and pickleball communities on a combined facility. Various options were recommended for expanding existing facilities and building new facilities on different sites throughout the community. Some expressed strong support for reconsidering a neighborhood outdoor pool in south-central Arvada. Several table groups discussed the relative merits of small neighborhood centers and larger specialized or regional facilities.

The diversity and enthusiasm of the recommendations, and especially the large number of attendees, was heartening. Opinions were wide-ranging, but there was widespread consensus on a few major points:

  • The meeting helped to promote an understanding of different groups’ recreational wants and needs.
  • There are significant financial constraints and challenges related to elections, so prioritizing improvements is going to be a difficult task. The goal is to determine how best to meet the community’s needs.
  • Despite the challenges ahead, the community has a lot to be proud of!

Apex PRD board members and staff sincerely thank the nearly 200 attendees at both the January and March meetings for their thoughtful and enthusiastic input.

These meetings were an important step in an extensive information-gathering process that began several years ago. In 2005, Vision 2020, a volunteer citizen panel, studied the district’s facilities and current community recreation needs. Then in 2012, the group revisited these and other issues and updated the master plan. In 2013, more community outreach took place when Greenplay, LLC, an independent organization specializing in parks and recreation planning, compiled community feedback using a number of methods, including a survey, to determine the public’s community recreation needs and preferences.

The next step is for the Apex PRD board to review the meeting results and consider future decisions and directions.

For more information on the January and March meetings, the master plan, or the information gathering process up to this point, contact Luann Levine, luannl@apexprd.org or 303.403.2518.