Montrose rec center group prepares for campaign

Volunteers of the Montrose Recreation District introduce themselves at the beginning of the strategic planning meeting at the Aquatic Center on Wednesday.

The Friends of the Montrose Community Recreation Center is preparing to launch its campaign to pass a sales tax initiative in April.

The group met Wednesday night to discuss campaign strategies a few days before formally requesting the city council to add the sales tax increase to the ballot.

The ballots are sent March 10 and polls close April 1.

“Seventy-five days, one hour and 10 minutes,” said Barbara Bynum, the treasurer of the Friends of the Montrose CRC, at the meeting Wednesday night.

She knew the exact time the group had until the polls close, and it’s how much time the group has to educate voters about the recreation center initiative.

“It’s not a long window we have to educate the community,” she said.

The Montrose Rec District can provide information for the public until the ballot language is certified. That’s when the Friends of the Montrose CRC takes over.

“It’s that group of volunteers that will be organizing this campaign to let the community know about this ballot initiative,” Bynum said.

Rec district employees can help the campaign on their personal time.

There are about 75 interested volunteers in the group to make calls, knock on doors and use their abilities to help educate the community.

“We have different people in this group of volunteers that have different strengths,” Bynum said.

Some bring skills in finance and others bring skills in social media. Together they put together the campaign to pass the initiative and “to make sure the voters in the community understand exactly what it is that they’ll be voting on,” Bynum said.

The city council is expected to add the initiative to its April ballot. The first initiative for a rec center sales tax increase two years ago required a citizen’s petition. The group gathered more than 1,700 signatures that year.

“We’ve listened to feedback after 2012 and spent the last two years refining it,” Bynum said.

The plan for the recreation center has been presented to the public several times during the past few months. The initiative proposes a .2 percent sales tax increase to cover the $11 million the district needs to meet the total cost of the project. The tax increase would expire the day the $11 total is reached.

“So much work as gone into the plan,” Bynum said. “It’s such a solid plan. It’s a center that will meet the needs of our community.”

If the sales tax initiative passes, the construction of the recreation center at the Woodgate Park area will be rolled out in three phases. The first phase includes the major building project, which houses two pools, a full gym, a track and a weightlifting area.

The Friends of the Montrose CRC has two months to share its vision with voters, and then it’s a waiting game until the end of April 1.

“Some people will hold on to their ballots until April 1 and they’ll walk them in on that day, and they’re are other people that are going to vote as soon as they get it in March,” Bynum said.

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