Council to Discuss ARC Expansion Concept
Aspen City Council will hear preliminary information about an Aspen Recreation Center Expansion Plan at their work session on Tuesday, May 18. The expansion, however, is not moving forward in the near future due to funding and other constraints.

“We have looked at adding 5,500 square feet to the ARC to expand the fitness center,” said Tim Anderson, ARC director, adding that the new fitness center with weights and machines could be located above the recreational pool. “We wanted to see if structurally the expansion could work and to look for any ‘fatal flaws’ in completing an expansion. What we found is that there are none, other than the absence of funding.”

The ARC Citizen Advisory Committee asked City Council during their 2009 budget meetings to consider an expansion. Council then directed staff to take a look at the concept. There are no intentions to move forward with the project in the near future, and existing covenants don’t allow changes to the original ARC building footprint until 2013.

Consultants determined that parking for an expansion would be feasible, given the agreements in place with the school campus parking lot nearby. There would be no major changes to the profile of the building by adding the fitness center, and all research indicates an expansion to the fitness center would increase pass sales.

“When a previous City Council oversaw the creation of the Aspen Recreation Center, there was a bit of concern over adding a fitness center with weights and machines,” Anderson explained. “There was worry that the ARC would put private athletic clubs out of business, but when the ARC opened its doors for the first time, users kept saying ‘Where is the workout equipment?’ so what we have is an afterthought and not the result of careful planning.”

Pass sales grew by 107% once the fitness center was added. City officials also realized that the ARC did not compete with local athletic clubs and catered to a different demographic.

“Users still are asking for a better fitness center, and council is listening to that desire and doing some preliminary research on the possibility of creating something truly fitting for the space that meets our customer’s expectations,” Anderson said. 

Posted on Friday, May 14, 2010