This content was originally published by the Longmont Observer and is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
In the upcoming November 5 election you will be voting on a tax increase designated for the building of an Aquatics and Ice Hockey Center. While it is widely acknowledged that Longmont could use a new pool complex and another rec center, the "need" for a competitive ice hockey arena has not been well justified. In fact, a combination pool complex and rec center similar to the one on Quail Rd was never given fair consideration.
Instead, feasibility and cost estimates were only pursued for the Aquatic/Ice Hockey venue. This is presumably in response to loud, persistent lobbying by the regional team ice hockey community.
I don't understand why the city is proposing something lobbied for by surrounding communities, rather than something for Longmont residents. I don't understand why the city is proposing that the many pay for something that mostly benefits the few. A hockey rink should be a private commercial enterprise. Before casting your vote, here are a few things you should keep in mind (the Feasibility Study is available on the city's website):
- The 2016 Longmont Satisfaction Survey showed more support for a Pool/ Rec Center than for a Pool/Ice Rink.
- More people were opposed to the Pool/Ice Rink option.
- The Ice will lose an estimated $636,000+ each year and will have to be subsidized from the general fund for at least the first 4-5 years. The Feasibility Study estimates that only 76% of the cost will be recovered.
- The tax will not mature for 20 years.
- According to the Feasibility Study, low participation in hockey means, quote,"an indoor ice rink will need to be considered a regional facility that must draw users from well outside of a single community's boundaries."
- This will increase traffic through neighborhoods.
- The school district is leasing part of the pool time but does not currently have a hockey program and has not committed to sharing the cost of the Ice Rink.
- The "training center for athletes?" in the proposed facility is not the same as a Rec Center. There will be no track. No gyms for basketball, pickleball, badminton, or volleyball, or space for fitness classes.
- The current rec center is overcrowded and will become even more heavily used, as new neighborhoods are being built in that vicinity.
- The Roosevelt Ice Pavilion would be shut down. Any other ice rink built in the surrounding area would dramatically impact Longmont's revenue.
We need another rec center in Longmont, as well as a pool complex. I think we should postpone the ballot question until next year and change it to propose an Aquatics/Rec Center.
Ingrid Moore is a Longmont resident.