Mayor Zo Stieber
Fort Lupton City Council approved two parts to a proposal to expand the city's recreation center during a regular meeting May 17.
The first was an eight-member, ad hoc committee to design the expansion. The vote was 6-0. Mayor Zo Stieber abstained for cause. She was participating via Zoom and did not hear the whole presentation.
The second was to hire a firm, Perkins & Will, to collect and present expansion information to voters this November. The cost for the contract won't be more than $28,000, and the vote was 6-1. Voters will decide whether to pay for the expansion.
The idea for a new recreation center started with community meetings 20 years ago. At that time, recreation center manager Julie Seedorf Holm said three areas community members wanted did not become part of the present facility. Two of them were an auxiliary gym and a fitness area.
"The community wanted it all, but we couldn't afford it," she told council. "Our memberships are increasing, and we love seeing the people come in and use the center. But we are so crowded. There are areas where we are at heavy use."
The plan is to form an eight-person ad hoc committee, including one member from the city's Culture, Parks, Recreation and Museum Committee, one from the city's Senior Advisory Committee, two city council members, two city staff members and two members from the general public. Holm said there could be a rec center member survey to gather input on wishes and desires of users.
"It's an issue of timing at this point," she told council. "We kept going back to the original drawings and the meetings that took place. We took the things that were cut out but left them in place for a future expansion. It depends on the timing and where we can expand."
Mayor Stieber, who cast the lone "no" vote to hiring the outside firm to present information to voters, had no problem with expanding the recreation center. Her issue was the speed.
"We're trying to do this so quickly," she said. "It feels like we are rushing to get something done and have it on the ballot this fall. I am not going to be able to support this."
In other business, council approved a $3,200 supplemental budget request for the city’s facilities and grounds departments. The vote was unanimous.
Human Resources Director Laura Howe said the money will be overtime pay for employees who have to work outside of normal working hours for issues that require a fast response.
“There are special situations that require them to have a quick response," Howe told council. "They will be paid a two-hour minimum for those situations. It helps pay our employees appropriately for time they spend during their time off.”
Howe also told council it would have to approve funds for this use in 2023 and beyond.