The dream lives on at Bill Heddles Recreation Center, where plans for expansion of the fitness and aquatic areas were unveiled last week. Recreation center director Wilma Ervin outlined the project during a 20-year anniversary celebration at the facility.
Presentations were scheduled at 7 a.m., noon and 5:30 p.m.
The recreation center began with a dream, Ervin said, as she outlined how a visionary 12-member task force, a progressive city council and then-city manager Steve Shutt began developing plans for the facility in 1991. At the 5:30 presentation, the task force members were recognized — chairman Bill Carlquist, Gordon Wagner, Tammy Nesbit-Smith, Dennis King, Gene "Snuffy" Smith, Roger Brown, Ronnie Metcalfe, Randy Sunderland, Charlie Allinson, Jim Kendrick, Doug Atchley and Bob Isom. Some are deceased, others have moved out of the area, but those who were present were given a certificate from present-day council members Ed Sisson (mayor), Mary Cooper, Ray Penick and Bill Raley. Councilmember Robert Jurca was not able to attend the celebration.
Twenty years ago, the council was comprised of Karen Kooyenga (mayor), Bob Harding, Charlie Allinson, Ray Meyer and Gerald Roberts. The parks and recreation director was Rich Englehart, who is now the city manager in Grand Junction.
After coming up with a vision, the city took the dream and put it in front of the citizens. Voters were asked to increase city sales tax by 1 percent to cover construction and maintenance of the facility. The ballot question passed 67-33 percent.
Architect Rich Sales designed the facility. He later moved to Delta and became a member of the city staff. Currently he is the town administrator in Palisade, but continues to make Delta his home.
Bob Nicholson oversaw construction, and the facility opened to the public March 27, 1993.
"What an exciting time!" Ervin said. "Think of all the anticipation!
"Twenty years later here we stand," she continued. "We still have a dream."
Again with the support of city voters, 72 percent of whom voted to extend the 1¢ sales tax to 2020, architect Bruce Flynn was hired to develop a master plan for rec center expansion.
That dream was so big it cannot be accomplished in its entirety, Ervin said. But a 7,000-square-foot addition to the aquatics area and a 3,000-square-foot addition to the fitness area will address many of the issues raised during a series of public hearings.
Staff members then unveiled four drawings prepared by Bruce Flynn. One shows the exterior overview; the others focus on details in the aquatics and fitness areas.
Fitness coordinator Gary West pointed out the door that will lead into a new cardio room where rec center patrons will find bikes, ellipticals, treadmills and great views of the lake and Grand Mesa. Next door is a studio for yoga, martial arts and spinning classes. That will free up space in the current fitness area to expand the weight room and provide open floor space for stretching. By freeing up space in the weight area, the rec center will be able to add a TRX training system and expand fitness programs for all ages and abilities.
This is an "amazing" add-on that will take the fitness area into the next decade, West said.
In the aquatics area, the therapy pool will be taken out and that area will be expanded to incorporate a wellness pool, where the water will be maintained at a warm 92°, a channel (or lazy river) and a new therapy pool. Ervin said "tons of windows" will be added to let in a lot of light. With a depth of 3 to 4 1/2 feet, the wellness pool will be used for swim lessons and water fitness classes. The lazy river will be popular with young and old alike — the old because they can use it as a walking area in the mornings. In the afternoons, the water speed will be turned up and the area will be open to all ages, so kids can float on tubes and play in the current.
The therapy pool will hold the same amount of water as the current pool. Ervin pointed out the aging therapy pool has four jets, but only two of them work. The new therapy pool will have 27 jets and a bench all the way around the edge so there will be as much, if not more, seating as is currently available.
The entire area will be designed to accommodate the handicapped and will facilitate classes for arthritic patrons that are not currently being offered.
After answering questions, Ervin turned to the time frame. She plans to present the final plans to city council April 16 and with their approval, groundbreaking will take place April 22. On April 29, the pool will be closed for four days so FCI Contractors can erect a temporary wall in the aquatics area, which will allow the pool to remain open while construction begins on the addition.
Sometime in the late fall, the weight room area will be closed about one week so FCI can punch through the wall and work on the addition to the fitness area.
A major closure scheduled to begin Oct. 21 will affect both the pool and the locker room. On the day before Thanksgiving, a grand re-opening is planned. Ervin pointed out the date of Nov. 27 was chosen specifically because the facility initially opened on the 27th — March 27, 1993.
Longtime members and employees were also recognized at the 5:30 presentation. Listed as members continuously since 1993 are Howard Garland, Cliff Payne, Don and Beth French, Jeff Burch, Bob and Charlotte Webb, Pat Sunderland, Rod Fraser, Brad Kolman, Ed Soper, Glenn Corrigan, Craig and Linda Emmett, Sky and Melanie Fairlamb, Dennis Doerer, Frank Pace, Lynn Callicutt, Peggy Isom, Barbara Breitnauer, Nancy Rowe, Judy Chapman, Judy Hodgin and Sanford McGuire. Each received an additional 30 days' membership, then all the names were put into a box. Beth French was the winner of a one-year membership.
Sky Fairlamb, one of the 20-year members, shared how the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States came to donate $100,000 to the project. Through his connections with the Republican Party, Fairlamb worked with Sam Zakham to bring the ambassador to the community. Shortly before, the ambassador had been in Philadelphia and had given the city a small token of appreciation for the U.S.'s help during the Gulf War.
When the ambassador flew into Montrose, he was met by a contingent of local officials and DPD officers. City manager Steve Shutt was driving the limo (white, borrowed from a funeral home) when Zakham leaned forward and asked about projects in Delta that could use some funds.
Fairlamb shared the vision for the rec center, saying, "We need to build a pool in Delta so we don't have so many kids drowning in the irrigation ditches."
Fairlamb said Zakham and the ambassador went into a huddle, then all of a sudden Zakham leaned forward and said, "The ambassador wants to give you $100,000."
"If you don't think a ride to Olathe can be exciting . . ." Fairlamb said. "I don't know how that city manager kept the car on the road.
Kuwaiti flags were lining Delta's Main Street. As the limo approached the corner of 7th and Main, one of the Kuwaiti flags fell from the post. "This little gal jumped out in front of the traffic and held up that flag in front of the ambassador," Fairlamb recalled.
The ambassador ordered the car to stop. He got out, asked for the name of the young girl, and later the Kuwaiti government sent her and her family on an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City where they all were given money to purchase new wardrobes. "It was really touching," Fairlamb said.
Ervin then recognized three employees who have been with the rec center since its opening — Nancy Doerer, facilities coordinator; Jeannie Hellman, aquatics instructor/swim coach; and Cristie Englehart, who taught aerobics at 417 Main for many years before continuing her classes at the rec center.
Other staff members recognized were Renee Ealey, assistant recreation center manager; Donna Aragon, administrative coordinator; Whitnee Lear, sports coordinator; Gary West, fitness coordinator; Lisa Moreland, aquatics coordinator; and Dianne Sales, leisure coordinator.
"It takes a lot of effort to run a facility of this size," Ervin said. "These are the folks who make it the best facility possible."
After the presentation, Bill Carlquist commented on how well the community worked together to build the recreation center.
"I am very proud that, as Wilma stated, it is still a wonderful facility. It is in excellent condition and once again we're coming together to expand it and make it better. All you have to do is walk into this place at any hour it's open and there are people of all ages, of all shapes and sizes, using the facility in many ways. It remains one of the great sources of pride for this community."blog comments powered by Disqus