BY FREDA MIKLIN
At its regular semi-monthly board meeting Aug. 22, the South Suburban Parks & Recreation District (SSPR) discussed swimming pools, a citizen’s request for a labyrinth, and budget matters.
SSPR has three outdoor swimming pools. Harlow Pool is located at 5151 S. Lowell Blvd in Littleton and was built in 1963. Holly Pool is located at 6651 S. Krameria Way in Centennial and was built in 1977. Franklin Pool is at 1600 E. Panama in Centennial and was built in 1964. All three need significant repair or replacement. Counsilman-Hunsaker, a Lakewood consulting group, gave the board several options on which significant community outreach had been done in addition to internal analysis. Each of the options carried a price tag in the area of $10 million. No final decision was made, but the most likely scenario appeared to be that all three pools will be rebuilt, though the Harlow pool is expected to be a little smaller than the others. The board will make a final decision soon.
A labyrinth in Progress Park
Julia Anderson, a 17-year resident of SSPR, asked the board to consider constructing a labyrinth in Progress Park at 5100 S. Hickory Street in Littleton. She showed pictures of a design and talked about the historical use of a path made of concentric circles for meditation and reflection. Anderson presented a plan with an estimated cost of $100,000. The board was very interested and took her suggestion under advisement.
Board considers the “Gallagher Effect” on SSPR’s budget
Rob Hanna, executive director, requested that the board decide whether to ask SSPR residents to approve a resolution to exempt SSPR from the effects of the Gallagher Amendment of 1982, which has caused SSPR’s revenues from property taxes to go down as property values have gone up in recent years. The estimated decrease in SSPR revenues resulting from Gallagher is currently $1.6 million annually.
All the board members agreed that this step needs to be taken, the only question was whether to do it in 2018 or wait until 2019. Board discussion included consideration of the possibility that residents might see the question as a request for a hidden tax increase. There was also concern about the large number of issues and questions already on the November ballot, especially from neighboring jurisdictions Littleton Public Schools and the City of Littleton.
Members James Taylor and Susan Pye felt that it was the board’s fiduciary responsibility to submit the resolution to the voters this year. Chair Scott LaBrash and members Dave Lawful and Pete Barrett had concerns about perceived transparency and the close proximity to prior SSPR ballot issues (2010, 2014 and 2017). The resolution to put the question to the voters in 2018 was defeated on a 3-2 vote. All board members expressed interest in revisiting the issue in 2019.
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