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by Ed Duffy

The Fountain Valley is growing at a rapid pace once again. The population of the area is expected to top 100,000 in just a few years. The Fountain Valley Senior Center has been looking for a bigger, better location for years. The Widefield Community Center is also running out of room and the City of Fountain doesn’t currently have a rec center or even a public pool.

These are some of the issues that a Citizens Advisory Committee hopes to address with a proposed new Regional Community Center. The advisory committee is made up of members from the Senior Center, The City of Fountain and Widefield District 3 (which owns the Widefield Community Center). The committee aims to get the proposal on the November 2020 ballot.

The land (about 20 acres) for a new center will be donated by the developer and would be located in the Cross Creek area (on the Mesa). The facility would serve as a new home for the Fountain Valley Senior Center and a combined rec center for Security-Widefield and Fountain. The current community center would continue to house the library.  Administrative offices, currently leasing other space, would likely relocate to it and the pool area would be repurposed. Of course, the ball fields aren’t going anywhere.

The top request from citizens of Fountain who were surveyed was a pool. Other amenities could include an indoor track, lacrosse field, meeting/event rooms, weight rooms, cardio; it really depends on what the public relates that they want and would use. There was a public meeting in February and there will be many more to be announced. You can also contact Silvia Huffman, at The City of Fountain (719-322-2038) for more information.

Under the proposal, Widefield District 3 would contribute funds from their existing budget, as would the Fountain Valley Senior Center. Voters in  Fountain Fort Carson School District 8 would be asked to approve a mil levy increase that would put them on par with District 3. Cost of the project is estimated at $31 million.

Funds will also be needed initially to do necessary planning, get the issue on the ballot and to promote it once it is approved for the ballot. Those fund raising efforts will begin soon.

I don’t generally vote for tax increases, but as a long time resident of the area and one that used to drive clear up north to take the kids to the wave pool at Cottonwood Creek’s community center, I think this idea is a good value. The cost of each of the entities involved doing their own thing would be much higher, if they could even find a suitable space. Nevertheless, a mil levy increase can be a tough sell. That’s why the advisory committee decided to go for the 2020 ballot rather than this coming November. They want to take the time to engage local residents and put together a great value proposition. If you have concerns, questions or would like to get involved, you can contact the Senior Center, Widefield District 3 or the City of Fountain for more information.