Times-Call (Longmont)

Library, recreation funding survey launches

- By Matthew Bennett mbennett@prairiemou­ntainmedia.com

If there’s one question on Longmont’s Library, Recreation and Culture Funding opinion survey, which launched Wednesday in hopes of measuring voter opinion, that gets to the heart of what city officials want to know before November’s election, it’s question No. 9.

That is, of the following four projects — building a new recreation center, constructi­ng a new library branch, expanding the Longmont Museum or developing a center for arts and entertainm­ent — which one do Longmont residents want a tax-related ballot measure for the most, if any at all?

The survey, which is available on the city’s website, takes less than 15 minutes to complete.

The survey makes clear that “no decisions” have been made by the City Council concerning any such ballot measure, at least not yet.

“If they want to add something to the ballot in November, we’d like to have that wording presented to them in July,” said Sandra Seader, Longmont assistant city manager.

The new recreation center would be located at Dry Creek Park and include a lap, therapy and leisure pool, fitness rooms, classrooms, a gymnasium, child care, locker rooms, a track and community space, according to the survey.

The project is estimated to cost $64 million and would be potentiall­y funded by a 3.01 mills property tax increase, which amounts to $108 annually for a $500,000 home, and a .15% sales tax increase, or 15 cents on a $100 purchase.

A new branch library, also at Dry Creek Park, is projected to cost $22.7 million and would be possibly financed through a 1.07 mills property tax increase, which equates to $38 annually on a $500,000 home, and a .11% sales tax increase that amounts to 11 cents on a $100 purchase.

The new branch library would offer meeting, programmin­g and study space, reading areas, creative arts, technology labs and more, the survey says.

“I, personally, will champion all of them. I think they’re all worthy investment­s,” Councilman Tim Waters, who is the council liaison to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, said Wednesday.

“I’m pretty certain … the rec center will be right at the top of the list for most folks.”

A consortium of local musicians, business owners and community leaders have also proposed a public-private partnershi­p with the city to fund an $80 million center for arts and entertainm­ent. However, the survey estimates such a center would cost $104 million, of which $35 million would come from the consortium, $45 million from the city and the remaining $24 million from “other funding sources.”

A museum and culture center expansion are estimated to cost $19 million and would feature new gallery space, a new children’s wing with a dedicated family focused gallery and more amenities.

The survey also asks residents about several existing community assets, such as Centennial Pool, the city’s three golf courses (Ute Creek, Twin Peaks and Sunset), the Longmont Senior Center, Sunset Pool and the Longmont Youth Center.

The city contracted with Magellan Strategies for the survey, which cost approximat­ely $24,000 to complete.

“The point of it is to try to gauge what are people really interested in,” Seader said. “That’s why we really hope that people will take the survey and share their important opinions with us.”

The survey is available in English or Spanish through March 8.

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