The owner of a downtown Cortez gymnastics studio pitched an ambitious concept of creating a large, multifunctional sports complex or field house geared toward youth activities at a Cortez Parks, Recreation and Forestry Advisory Board meeting on Friday.
“When we have bad weather, there really is no good place for the youth to go in the city, so I’m just trying to propose something ... that would benefit the kids,” Randy Quillin, owner of Stormy’s ATC Gymnastics, said.
“I’m just trying to get the thought going,” Quillin said.
The idea is in a preliminary stage, and Parks and Recreation Director Dean Palmquist after the meeting said projects like this often take 10 years to come to fruition. During the meeting, he asked Quillin about the scale of what he has in mind.
Quillin said he’s not stuck on the specifics, but said the base structure could be a similar size of the warehouse on the corner of East Empire Street and Colorado Highway 145 — the former ATC Gymnastics location that is now a CrossFit gym and golf simulation business — but would require two or three stories on top of that.
He said he envisions one area for gymnastics, cheerleading and acrobatics with trampolines and pits in the middle as well as a parkour section and an extreme sports area with halfpipes and quarter pipes for skateboards and BMX bikes. It could also incorporate indoor fields for soccer or football as well as a padded room for wrestling and a separate room with hardwood floors.
Advisory board member Alan Klein said incorporating a field house would require a “huge building” that could rival, if not exceed, the cost of the Cortez Recreation Center.
“That was a huge bond issue that took a lot to pass,” Klein said.
Quillin said he is open to any combination of public or private funding and said he has heard a lot of interest from various groups that could rent or lease parts of the facility. He said it could draw people from Utah and New Mexico.
Palmquist said a publicly funded facility would require its own voter-approved sales tax. Advisory board member Tom Rennick said a private facility would likely require a nonprofit organization to raise money and gather stakeholders.
The proposal comes at a time when the city is planning a $3.75 million community park on the south side of town and Cortez residents are still paying off the loan for the Cortez Recreation Center.
Voters in 2001 approved a 0.55 percent sales to pay for the recreation center, bringing in about $1.2 million annually, of which $690,000 goes to loan payments. In 2018, voters lowered the sales tax rate to 0.35 percent but extended the term.
Aside from the financial viability discussion, the two youth members of the advisory board expressed support for the idea.
“Considering the youth of Cortez, I think this would be a pretty good thing for us to have because all of the youth here get bored,” Sawyer Dietrich, a senior at Montezuma-Cortez High School, said. “They get bored and a lot of them find trouble.”
Clarissa Dukeminier, also a senior at M-CHS, said many of the programs for youths in Cortez are seasonal.
“There’s nowhere to go ... especially with the younger kids,” Dukeminier said.
Palmquist said Quillin’s proposal would need to be fully vetted out and thought through. He said a project like this would require public support.