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Board of Directors Note Summer 2018, From Vice-President Martin Lutz

I would like to start with a big thank you to Montrose. It has been just over a year now since the new Montrose Recreation Center opened and the way Montrose has embraced it has been tremendous. Its reception –overwhelming. The number of annual passes sold almost triple our projections! The facility is consistently busy with patrons enjoying all the available amenities from the pool to the elevated walking track and everything in between. It does a heart good to see all the families recreating together and enjoying opportunities presented in the new center. The grand opening of  the newly renovated Field house was also a huge success complete with watching Ken Sherbenou don the giant plastic bubble to play Bubbleball Soccer. Nicely done Ken! Summer is fast approaching and the staff at the MRD has put together some fantastic options to enjoy the summer sun and warmer weather. Do you play pickleball, tennis, softball, baseball, soccer? If so, there is a program for you! If not, there is still something for you….so many great opportunities to choose from.

As always, we continue to work to expand the quality and quantity of service we provide. Some projects we are working on currently to do just that include the Holly Park & Riverbottom Drive renovation, the Connect Initiative Trail Project, and continued collaboration with other public entities including the City, the Montrose County School District (MCSD), Montrose Memorial Hospital (MMH) and the County. The MRD is committed to renovating Holly Park, the MRD’s oldest park built in 1975 and likely the poorest quality park in Montrose! When we earned funding of the CRC, phases I and II, and the Field House, we made sure we had enough resources to fix Holly. Adjacent Riverbottom Drive also needs to be widened to improve circulation, safety, avoid the continual spring flooding of the ditch and provide more parking. This is a great opportunity to partner yet again with our main partner in providing quality of life, the City of Montrose. We plan to complete design this year and build in 2019.

As for the Connect Initiative Trail Project that will add 2.25 miles of River Trail and Montrose’s first two bike/pedestrian underpasses, design has begun. Delmont consultants along with other locals like Julee Wolverton will be working closely with the City and the MRD through the rest of 2018 to complete design and then put the project to bid. Construction will happen in 2019 and the trail should be open for use by the end of 2019. A HUGE thank you to Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and the Colorado Lottery for the $2M grant that enabled this project.

As for collaboration, the MRD continually seeks to work with other public, non-profit and private partners to maximize our effectiveness. A big thanks for our constructive working relationship with the City on such projects as shared services, with the MCSD on efforts such as the shared use of facilities that enables each entity to better serve Montrose, with Montrose Memorial Hospital on the Mountain View Therapy space within the CRC that is in high demand for patient care, and with the County on projects like the Connect Initiative Trail Project and the public service announcements that appear in the MRD newsletter each month.

Serving on the MRD Board of Directors has given me the opportunity to really learn about and embrace the mission of the MRD. In short, we seek to do everything we can to promote a healthy community through our available resources. I have seen this demonstrated time and again in our meetings with the consideration of new program offerings, financial discussions, and community collaboration. I have been impressed with the focus on fiscal responsibility, accountability, and quality of service. I have every confidence that the MRD BOD and the MRD leadership team/staff will not ever lose sight of this. For that reason I am proud to serve our community on this board.
Montrose Recreation District – Recreation at its finest.

Thank you and with warm regards,
Martin Lutz

Note from Operations Manager Coz Sisneros

As I sat down to write this article, I could not help but reflect on the past and on how far the Montrose community has come in terms of our parks and recreation system. For the Montrose Rec. District (MRD), we have gone from being that small three room office (house) on south 1st street just across from City Hall to what we are today! When I first walked through its doors in the summer of 1975 to begin my career with the recreation district, never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed what was in store for parks and recreation in Montrose, Colorado, nor would I have believed that I would have been around to see it all!

To give you a better perspective and appreciation for what I am referring to perhaps a bit of history is in order. The formation of the Montrose Metropolitan Recreational District, as it was known back then, was on September 21, 1956, primarily established for the purpose of operating an outdoor swimming pool and providing public recreation. The Veteran Memorial Pool was dedicated on June 9, 1957 as a seasonal outdoor pool, located on south 12th street adjacent to the Magic Circle Theatre. The Swimming Pool Park and two tennis courts were also operated by the recreation district at this same site. On any given summer day, the outdoor pool would reach capacity within minutes of opening its doors at 1:00 pm!

In addition to the original pool, there were the growth of programs. Many, if not all, of the program offerings provided for the Montrose community were what I like to call, “Grass Roots Programs”, meaning that they were established by members of the community for the people of the community. Youth and adult sports programs have always been especially important to the folks in the Montrose community! Programs such as the Old Timers Association (OTA) Baseball, established in 1945 and operated by its own OTA board. The Pigtail Softball Program, established in the 1960’s, which was one of the first programs that I became the director for. And then of course, you had the adult sports programs, which were very rich in tradition. The Adult Basketball Leagues, established in 1957, which had a long history of teams who participated, year after year, such as, Stockman’s Café, Budgetline Furniture, etc. The Adult Softball Program was established in the early 1960’s. It also had its long history of team who participated in the Men’s and Women’s Fast Pitch Softball Leagues. Teams like Chipeta Café, Red Barn, Flairmont Furniture, Jeans Westerner, just to mention a few. As the citizens desired, we started other youth sports programs, beginning with the Youth Basketball Program in 1975 and the Youth Soccer Program in 1980. Now more than 300 kids participate in youth basketball and over 600 participate in youth soccer.

Now, you might ask yourself, where would have all of these recreational programs and activities have taken place since the recreation district did not own any athletic fields or gyms at the time. The sports programs were administered on and in the community’s facilities such as school gymnasiums. Sports programs were administered at the Columbine Middle School Field and an adult softball field was located behind Montrose High School, where present day Lloyd McMillan Gym now sits. The recreation district did eventually add outdoor athletic facilities. This included Holly Park in 1975, Ute Park in 1985, McNeil Fields in 1995. The community’s first indoor facility, the Aquatic Center, opened in 1987. This facility was recently renovated into a Field House with the hosting of the grand opening on December 2nd, 2017. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It is a sight to see!

Enough said about the history of the recreation district. Let’s talk about the present and the future of the Montrose Recreation District! We are quickly approaching the one year anniversary of the grand opening of our Montrose Community Recreation Center (CRC), which will be on January 27, 2018. It has been completely embraced by our community, for which we are extremely grateful.
Although I am nearing the end of my career in the parks and recreation field, I am more excited than ever for the future of the Montrose Recreation District (MRD) and what it has meant and will continue to mean to our community! From the time that we opened the doors to the new CRC, I have enjoyed greeting and getting reacquainted with many “old” friends. I have seen countless past participants of our youth and adult athletic programs and the various people that I grew up with through our Montrose Recreation District family. I have enjoyed watching families with their children, adults and seniors, alike; discovering a whole new aspect of what our recreation district has to offer Montrose. Introducing and bringing on a full service recreation center facility as well as the Field House to the Montrose community has elevated Montrose to new heights. It will certainly do wonders to enhance our ability to provide better programming, better services, and a better quality of life for our entire community! It has been a wonderful experience witnessing and being a part of the evolution of parks and recreation in Montrose!