Hyland Hills ballot issue warrants a ‘Yes’ vote

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 4/13/20

We are so fortunate to have such a fine combination of parks, trails, open space and recreation facilities, both here in the Westminster and in Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District area. …

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Hyland Hills ballot issue warrants a ‘Yes’ vote

Posted

We are so fortunate to have such a fine combination of parks, trails, open space and recreation facilities, both here in the Westminster and in Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District area.

Whatever your preference might be, it’s there for your enjoyment, relaxation or exercise. Our appreciation of trails, open space and parks is especially acute these days with the Coronavirus. Just like our homes, yards and equipment, things wear out or need to be upgraded from time to time.

With that in mind, Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District officials have put together a winning proposition for its residents.

Mark your calendars for the May 5, the date for the Hyland Hills Board of Directors election which includes a ballot proposition to renew a 1.275 mill levy to pay for a host of capital improvement projects throughout Hyland Hills’ sites.

But let’s start at the front-end of the process the district used before getting into the details of the ballot proposition.

New master plan identified needs

The District first formed a citizen-led Master Plan Committee to develop a 2020 Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District Master Plan.

The plan, which is designed to guide the District in the years to come, is based on several key provisions. They include: Conserving and maintaining natural areas for open space; Maintaining and improving neighborhood parks; Repairing and improving aging recreational facilities; Improving safety and access to parks, trails and rec facilities; Providing opportunities for active recreation for children, families and seniors; and improving energy efficiency and savings at District facilities.

It was an intensive process that produced a comprehensive list of capital improvement projects spread throughout the park and recreation district. The District’s Board of Directors approved the plan and is now asking residents to approve a funding approach to make those improvements without raising property owners’ taxes.

New improvements without a tax rate increase

The District’s voter-approved 2002 bond issue, which produced numerous new and enhanced facilities, is due to be paid off this year. A 1.275 mill levy had been imposed to pay the annual debt service on the bond issue since its inception. The Master Plan Committee and Board of Directors are recommending that the existing 1.275 mills be extended to fund improvements listed in the newly adopted master plan.

By using this approach, the District would be able to upgrade, replace and enhance existing sites, some highlighted below, starting in 2021.

At the same time, it doesn’t increase the District’s current mill levy so, it’s a “win-win.” Without the approval of the extension of this mill levy, I am told these projects cannot be done in the foreseeable future.

Proposed improvements

The list of identified improvements covers the entire District.

Projects for the first five years covers 14 District-owned and maintained sites totaling approximately $7.5 million. The comprehensive list is too extensive to detail in this column, but the full list can be found on the District’s web site at www.hylandhills.org.

Let me summarize some of the improvements: Camenish Park would be a major focus with several improvements including converting the ballfield to a Challenger field, adding two picnic shelters, reconfiguring the parking, Disk Golf improvements and others ($2.3 million). At Carroll Butts Park, some of the improvements are replacing playground equipment, convert inline to pickleball, add shade structure and benches and improve storm drainage ($914,500). At Sherrelwood Park, playground equipment would be added along with shade structures and benches ($272,500).

More proposed improvements

Clear Creek Valley Park would include converting a house to a ranger station/event space, adding volleyball courts and swinging benches ($746,500). Improvements at Bell Roth Park would include adding small playground equipment and a shade structure, dredging the pond and providing access for water activities ($675,000). Berkeley Hills Park improvements totaling $675,000 would include replacing playground equipment, adding a group pavilion, renovate the irrigation system, complete loop trail and do dam/drainage/parking improvements. The Waddell Complex would receive new playground equipment, renovate the irrigation system and convert margin grass to natural ($538,500).

Also, improvements are identified for eight additional sites at Hidden Lake, Hyland Hills Sports Complex, Clear Lake, Commissioners Park, Rotary Park, Skyview Park, Valley View Park and Carl Park. Projects at these sites vary from park to park, but could include such improvements as replacing playground equipment, adding shade structures, tot playgrounds, improve existing storm drainage and swinging benches. The projects at these parks total $1,534,500.

Starting in 2021

It is important to note that if the mill rate extension is approved, work on those enhancements, expansions and refurbishments would be begin in the first five years, starting in 2021. This is an impressive and well thought-out set of projects for the benefit of Hyland Hills residents of all ages.

A key component of our quality of life is our leisure time and fitness opportunities. Given the region we all live in with our favorable climate and the gorgeous mountains, we are truly blessed to be able to spend so much time outdoors. With these improvements, it simply makes our outdoor and competitive experiences all the more rewarding and enjoyable.

You should note that Water World, the Hyland Hills golf courses, Adventure Golf and Raceway and the Ice Centre at the Promenade are not included. These are enterprise operations which generate their own revenue.

Making the community better yet

As a long-time resident and taxpayer in the Westminster portion of Hyland Hills, I urge your support of the extension of the 1.275 mill levy.

For a house valued at $300,000, the mill levy equates to approximately $2.28 per month - which the owner has been paying.

That is a good investment for each of us. Public improvements such as parks, trails, open space, recreation facilities, schools, fire stations and police facilities are an important part of our community. They need to be kept up-to-date and well maintained. In turn, they are an influencing factor on our private property’s value.

I’m voting yes, and I hope you will join us in this opportunity to make our community even better yet.

A quick reminder

District personnel have indicated that this election is a mail-in ballot election with ballots mailed, beginning April 13. Your ballot will have Title A on it — which is the mill levy extension — along with the four candidates seeking to fill two seats on the Hyland Hills Board of Directors.

Election day is May 5. Ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off at ballot boxes at Perl Mack Community Center (7125 Mariposa St.), Westminster City Hall (4800 W. 92nd Ave.) or Federal Heights City Hall (2380 W. 90th Ave.).

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media. You can contact him at bcjayhawk68@gmail.com.

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