Denver Direct: Everybody into the Pool

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Everybody into the Pool

Architect’s computer-generated view of La Alma Rec Center

Thanks to Councilwoman Judy Montero’s ability to “find” $600,000, half of which will go to the La Alma recreation center to keep it from having to “transition” to a non-profit operation, that Center will remain open and under Parks and Rec control. With $2,000,000 available from Bond money, an Olympic size 50-meter swimming pool is slated for construction. The residents, led by Dean Sanchez, want the pool connected to the existing recreation center. But at last night’s meeting, while it was announced that another $1,500,000 had been “found” to increase the total for pool construction to $3,500,000, it was not enough to allow the connection.

From Sanchez:

Last night’s La Alma pool design meeting was a disaster. it was another reminder that the city has it’s own agenda and the community is not part of that.

At last month’s community meeting to discuss how to use the $2 million dollar budget to remodel La Alma’s pool, the community shared their concerns with the city and it’s design firms. The main concern was in keeping the 50 meter length and permanently connecting the Recreation Center and the pool with a multi-use structure that would house locker rooms and a “bathhouse”.

The city claimed “that the budget was too small and keeping a pool of this size was not feasible, but they would draw up some plans for a proposal connecting the pool and Rec center”.

Last night the city’s opening statement included a personal boast of how, in the city’s commitment to the community, they went to bat for La Alma and acquired another 1.5 million dollars, “so they could do the project right”.

After a long winded speech concerning what a pleasure it is to work with the La Alma community, the city claimed “that connecting the two structures was unrealistic and would cost more then the budget allows”.

In conclusion, the community has continually come out in force to work and sometimes compromise with the Department of Parks and Recreation, only to be told that our input is irrelevant. People, I am not an expert on architectural design. But, I (unlike our city officials) possess some commonsense. And the idea that you can not join two structures and remodel a pool for 3.5 million dollars is completely absurd.

The DPR’s, Assistant Director for planning design, Mark Tabor specifically said “we are here to complete the project that the voters decided to give you, nothing more”.

Compadres, we are the voters, we are not some charity case that should be happy with what we are given. This is not the 1850’s, this is our tax money, we are the consumer and we should be given what we pay for!

P.S. And yet nothing ($0) for Globeville’s Johnson Recreation Center, also in Montero’s district, and on the road to “transitioning”.