March 2011 - Parks & Recreation - 52

Aspen: the Importance of
Doing Your Homework

O

ne success story of the public interplay with the
parks department is the Aspen Recreation Center, completed in 2003. ARC, as it is also known,
is a mixed-use, 77,000 square-foot facility featuring a host
of options for visitors including an NHL-sized ice rink, a 32foot climbing tower, a cardio room, tennis courts, a batting
cage, a skating pond, and more. Jeff Woods, manager of
Parks and Recreation for the City of Aspen, says the community took part in every stage of development. The fi rst
year was spent at Rotary meetings, Chamber of Commerce
meetings, and on a local television station asking the community for feedback on the project. " During the planning
process, when people asked for changes, we looked at options and came back with new ideas, so the public knew
we were listening to them, " Woods says. As for funding,
45 percent of the money had to be raised privately to help
defray the cost of the recreation center, a feat Woods says
wouldn't have happened nearly as quickly without the public's help in the process.
Woods credits two key components for the overall success of ARC. First was a collaboration process with the surrounding area. The creation of partnerships was essential
because the Aspen School District as well as the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club were in close proximity to the
ARC. In building the ARC, a new pedestrian bridge was
erected across the road for easy access for schools and the
ski club. " The ARC isn't just one building, but we tied it all
together. It's beyond your traditional rec center...really a
campus, " Woods says. Additionally, the area around ARC
included houses ranging in the $3 million to $8 million price

range. These homeowners were specifically concerned that
the recreation facility would negatively impact their home
values. However, the use of computer technology to depict
what the project would look like helped calm these fears.
The second reason for the success of ARC, according
to Woods, was the dual talents of many people in the Aspen Parks and Recreation staff. This allowed them to take on
several roles in the process to keep the cost lower. Woods,
also a licensed landscape architect, says his background
was helpful during public meetings for better conveying the

A SPEN R ECREATION
CENTER, A.K.A. THE ARC
LOCATION:

Aspen, Colorado

OWNE R / MUNICIPALITY:
COMPLETION DATE:

City of Aspen

March 2003

ARCHITECTS/ PL ANNE RS/ BUILDE RS:

Durrant Sport, Shaw Construction, City of Aspen
COST:

$20 million

The Aspen
Recreation Center features an NHL-sized ice
rink with stadium seating for 450 people, a 3D,
32-foot climbing tower, leisure and lap pool
featuring a two-story waterslide, spray features,
lazy river, hot tub, steam room, sauna and a
cardio room. Nine sliding-glass doors in the pool
room open in the summer months
leading to an outdoor
deck with lounge chairs and tables.
The outside area includes batting
cages, tennis courts, ball fields; and
in the winter months, the ball fields
transform into a skating pond.

FACILITY DESCRIPTION:

Photo courtesy of robb williamson

COMMUNITY INVOLVEME NT:

50	 Parks & Recreation					 M A R C H 	 2 0 1 1 					 w w w . N R P A . O R G

One year was spent getting input
on the project from the community.
A citizens group called SPARC
raised 45 percent of the money for
the project. The main requests from
the public included a competitive
pool, a recreational leisure pool,
a climbing tower, an ice rink,
outside surrounded by athletic
fields and ski fields.



March 2011 - Parks & Recreation

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