Voters approve renovations to Hayden community center
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Hayden voters passed a 1-cent sales tax increase Tuesday to help fund renovations and operations on its community center.
In January, the town council agreed to pay $50,000 for a portion of the old high school to use for the community center.
The measure, ballot measure 2A, passed with 525 votes to 410, with 79% of votes tallied. It’s estimated to raise $240,000 annually and would exist in perpetuity to allow for a dedicated stream of funding for continued programming and operational costs at the center.
The accompanying ballot measure 2B, which was also approved Tuesday, allows Hayden to raise capital for the first phase. That was passed by 498 to 430.
Renovations for the new center include home for the summer and after-school Totally Kids program, the gymnasium, a creative arts wing, space for vocational and technical training and other continuing education classes, the auditorium and a health and family services section. The first phase would make the necessary repairs and renovate the Totally Kids space, at an estimated cost of $3.2 million to $3.7 million.
The next two phases would remodel the education and creative arts wings and the health and family services space. The total project, including phase one, is estimated between $5.5 million and $7.5 million.
Hayden Mayor Tim Redmond said the center also hopes to hold recreational sports and gym spaces with 24-hour keypad access, which he hopes will benefit high school students in the county.
“I think it’s going to be a good safe place for our youth,” he said. “Maybe they’ll be in the gym on Friday night playing basketball or volleyball and not out drinking beer and driving.”
Town Manager Matthew Mendisco said renovations are set to begin in April but anticipates COVID-19 restrictions will limit the scope of activities when the center is first open.
“I believe that we’ll probably have to do a formula of how many square feet we have and how many people can be there at a time,” he said. “We may have to have a schedule.”
While restrictions may complicate activities for the center, part of the funds collected from the sales tax will go toward a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, which town manager Matthew Mendisco said was part of the plan before the pandemic hit, but believes will help make the center safer during COVID-19.
“I’m not saying COVID-19 is a good thing but oftentimes you see everyone looking at it through a lens of despair and negativity,” Mendisco said. “We look at it as being fortunate and opportunistic because we’re able to have better insight on how we design things moving into the future.”
In addition to recreational activities, Redmond hopes to hold cooking, art classes and celebrations in the new center.
“I’m hoping it’s going to open doors to a lot of people to develop sides of themselves that maybe they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise,” he said.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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