The passing of Ballot Issue 6B for funding North Subdistrict recreation purposes represents the beginning of a new chapter in MetRec’s 40+ year history. The future is unwritten, untapped, and unknown, but given the funding purposes of 6B, we can see and collaboratively create a shared future. So, what can it look like?
Ballot Issue 6B has three funding purposes, including:
- Capital construction projects (30 – 60% spent annually or put into reserves)
- Recreation nonprofit operational support (30 – 60% spent annually)
- Improved recreation experiences (10 – 40% spent annually or put into reserves)
Capital funding can be used as matching funding to start projects, leverage outside funding, and plan for the future. The cost of projects already identified by our community, like the CB-to-CB South trail, fields, and trailhead improvements, will exceed the 6B’s capital budget. However, it’s not hard to imagine how MetRec’s support will help capital projects become more viable. First, matching funds from MetRec makes other stakeholders’ grant applications more competitive. Second, MetRec can apply for grants unavailable to nonprofits and property owner associations. Third, MetRec can help our community plan an integrated and balanced recreation infrastructure in partnership with all the myriad stakeholders. And if desired, it can pursue future bond initiatives to help make plans a reality.
Recreational nonprofits like CBMBA, CB Nordic, and the CBAC are paragons throughout Colorado and the nation. Why? There are many reasons, but it certainly has to do with their people’s passion, expertise, and leadership. Imagine what recreation would look like without the people in these and other recreation nonprofits. As we all know, living costs here are relatively high and increasing. Therefore, paying people livable wages figure prominently in operational recreation budgets. If our community wants excellent recreational amenities, it’s essential to invest in attracting and keeping exceptional people living here. Of course, operational funding includes other costs besides payroll. MetRec looks forward working creatively about how best to meet nonprofit operational needs.
The funding bucket for maintaining quality recreation experiences is a catch-all to support creative funding solutions. It’s impossible to know with certainty what kinds of recreational challenges future MetRec Boards will face. In the short term, we are confident this funding bucket will give MetRec flexibility to support the types of recreational opportunities voters in our community already enjoy, like hiking, skate boarding, dancing, and floating rivers, as well as emerging opportunities like pickleball.
Wherever MetRec’s journey leads, it will be essential to balance our recreational needs with the needs of wildlife, the environment, and our tourism-based economy. As elsewhere worldwide, wildlife populations are declining here in Gunnison County. One obvious solution is to concentrate recreational activities in areas where people live. Another is to work closely with the county, state, and federal agencies to develop landscape approaches to planning and managing recreation. Fortunately, Gunnison County has already created the Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee (STORC) so stakeholders can get on the same page and act together. STORC is another organizational paragon recognized across Colorado and the nation for successfully bringing diverse voices together to solve common problems. The wheels of government move slowly, but they can move surely. As we plan ahead, it’s clear that we’ll all need to work proactively and carefully toward an integrated landscape approach to recreation management. It’ll take time. MetRec is just one voice on STORC, but it’s committed for the long haul.
Speaking of voices, yours matters tremendously. MetRec has remained somewhat under the radar. Perhaps it’s just the nature of being a quasi-governmental corporation. Or maybe the community has been waiting for MetRec to get geared up. As we move forward, know that we love engagement with the voters, not just the stakeholders. There are several avenues to make your voice heard. You can make public comments at the beginning of our regular monthly board meetings. You can participate in grant reviews. And you can email or call us anytime (email@example.com, (970) 641-8725.
Finally, let’s remember that MetRec has a dual mission to provide quality over-the-air TV service and vital recreation support throughout the District. MetRec will continue to provide quality over-the-air TV operations consistent with its TV Translator Operations Policy. And MetRec is eager to support the South Subdistricts’ recreation needs through its general fund and prospective ballot issues.
Thank you for your support.