Commerce City parks and recreation construction blitz shows off “hidden gem”

Adrian Valenzuela is running through his typical afternoon workout — shoulders, biceps, cardio. The 26-year-old Commerce City native has been coming to Eagle Pointe Recreation Center for 10 years, beginning when he was a high school jock on the football and basketball teams.

Eagle Pointe is convenient and affordable for Valenzuela. He lives around the corner from the center at 60th Avenue and Parkway Drive, and says he likes that he doesn’t have to compete for machines or pay expensive fees like he might expect at a private gym.

“If we didn’t have this rec center, I’d have to pay double the price,” Valenzuela said.

The 30-year-old Eagle Pointe Recreation Center will undergo its first major renovations in early 2018. Construction is set to begin just as the Bison Ridge Recreation Center on the northeast corner of 112th Avenue and Potomac Street is scheduled to open.

These dual projects mark the end of a concentrated five-year period of expansion for Commerce City parks and recreation.

“There’s something really satisfying to coming to the end of these five years,” Commerce City communications manager Julia Virnstein said.

That construction blitz kicked off in 2013 when voters approved a 1-percent sales and use tax in perpetuity to fund parks, recreation and streets. Residents identified their needs and how they preferred to pay for them through a series of community meetings with city officials beginning in 2011.

Residents selected five projects: $10 million in renovations to the current recreation center, creation of a $60.9 million facility to serve the growing northern edge of town, three new parks, and the community’s first outdoor pool and upgrades to Tower Road.

Paradice Island Pool at Pioneer Park opened in July 2015, and nearly 40 acres of new parks opened to the public in 2015 and 2016. Construction on Tower Road between 80th and 103rd avenues will wrap up by Dec. 31.

“I always like to tell people that we’ve been running at full speed for more than four years,” said recreation manager Karen O’Donnell.

O’Donnell has seen Commerce City’s population grow significantly during her 6 1/2 years as recreation manager. The city’s population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010 to nearly 46,000 people.

Most of that growth occurred in northwest neighborhoods, far from what was the city’s only recreation center off 60th Avenue and Parkway Drive. Residents either drove 20-30 minutes to use the city center, paid to use private gyms or paid

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle

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