Government & Politics  June 3, 2024

Johnstown Town Council to discuss potential $29.5M aquatics center

JOHNSTOWN — The Town Council Monday could decide to bring a $29.5 million aquatics center to town to be paid for by a sales-tax increase.

The board will discuss its options at 7 p.m. after a 14-month feasibility study that concluded the best option to fund a center would be a sales tax. If the board opted to move forward with a sales-tax question, it they also could opt to place a question on the November ballot.

The idea for an aquatics center, complete with a lap pool, lazy river and slide towers, came amid the town’s planned acquisition of two properties, a 5.5-acre site at the former Letford Elementary School, and a 60-acre site (Centennial Park) southeast of Town Hall. A group of residents sought specifically to develop one site as an aquatics center, which prompted a 14-month feasibility study.

According to town documents, the study involved a market analysis, public input, evaluating both properties, developing a program reflecting public and committee input, concept design, and an operational analysis. 

Some of the primary findings of the study show that both the sites in consideration could support an aquatics center, though the study recommends the Centennial site. As presented, the concept plan covers about eight acres with a capacity of 600 people, with potential for expansion.

The concept plan for the study includes the following primary components: 

  • Bath house – cashier, locker areas, bathrooms, and lifeguard offices.
  • Splash pad.
  • Activity pool – zero depth entry area, quiet zone, multi-use sports pool with deeper water, lazy river, vortex, and 2-flume slide tower.
  • Lap/Exercise pool – lap pool and diving board.
  • Spa.
  • Picnic pavilion/shade structure.
  • Cabanas, umbrellas and shade sails.
  • Deck showers and deck lockers.
  • Food truck space.
  • Parking lot with 150 parking spaces.
  • Multi-purpose building — concessions, classroom, and storage space.

The expected cost of such a facility would be at least $29.5 million, and cost the town a $213,000 a year subsidy to operate over the first five years, according to town documents. 

If the council opts to pursue building an aquatics center, town officials suggest a public hearing on Aug. 19. Town documents show that sales-tax revenues have been increasing this year. In March, the town’s total sales taxes, which includes sales taxes and motor-vehicle taxes, hit $2 million, a 15-month high. It may come as no surprise, given that Buc-ee’s opened its 74,000-square-foot travel center that month with much fanfare at Interstate 25 and Weld County Road 48.

Town documents also note that putting the question on the ballot will cost between $28,000 and $56,000.

The Town Council Monday could decide to bring a $29.5 million aquatics center to town to be paid for by a sales-tax increase.

Sharon Dunn
Sharon Dunn is an award-winning journalist covering business, banking, real estate, energy, local government and crime in Northern Colorado since 1994. She began her journalism career in Alaska after graduating Metropolitan State College in Denver in 1992. She found her way back to Colorado, where she worked at the Greeley Tribune for 25 years. She has a master's degree in communications management from the University of Denver. She is married and has one grown daughter — and a beloved English pointer at her side while she writes. When not writing, you may find her enjoying embroidery and crochet projects, watching football, or kayaking and birdwatching on a high-mountain lake.
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