Ballot question concerns Wellington Community Park

Instead of developing Wellington Community Park in phases, the town of Wellington now wants to finalize the design and construct the park located in northwest Wellington sooner rather than later.

The park, at the northeast corner of Washington Avenue and Buffalo Creek Parkway, is part of a Parks and Trail Master Plan and will include a dog park, splash pad, playgrounds, shelters, lighted ball fields, a dirt bike trail, lighted tennis courts, a pond with a nature trail and a turf amphitheater.

In order to accomplish this, Wellington voters are being asked to approve a $3 million ballot issue on April 1. Without raising taxes, the town proposes borrowing up to $2.4 million at a maximum interest rate of 4 percent, with a maximum total repayment cost of $3 million. The loan — including the $600,000 in interest — will be repaid over 10 years and will not increase existing taxes or impose any new taxes.

A portion of the proposed debt will be paid by the Park Fund derived from sales and use taxes and by other revenue as determined by the Board of Trustees.

Total cost for the project was initially estimated at $3.4 million. The previously built batting cage cost $274,222 and designing the park cost $162,933. The board recently approved a $60,000 contract for rough dirt work that’s in progress. If the ballot issue is approved, total expenditures for the park would be at $3,497,155.

The town proposes to seek Great Outdoors Colorado grants, and possibly some other small grants, to secure the remaining money that will be needed to light the ballfields and finish the playground and splash pad. Those grants could range from $400,000 to $600,000, putting the total finished cost for the park between $3.8 million and $4 million.

While many area residents are anxious to see the park completed quickly, town administrator Larry Lorentzen said that if the ballot issue passes, completion is not likely until 2015. Election results won’t be known until April making it impossible to apply for a GoCo grant until the fall 2014 cycle. Calling for bids and a push for completion won’t occur until grant funds are in place to complete funding.

The Town of Wellington is required by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, “TABOR,” to obtain approval for the $3 million ballot issue via a vote of the people even though no new taxes will be required for the project.

If the ballot issue passes, most of the immediate work will revolve around finalizing design plans with actual construction to follow.

Lorentzen encourages Wellington residents to get out and vote. “Give us your opinion,” he said.

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