For six years a group of citizens in Rifle have been pushing for a community recreation center. They say efforts to get one in the city have been ongoing for 30 years. Only recently have they been able to get the issue on the ballot. Now voters will get to decide on the $21 million facility.
"The basketball courts will be to my left and then on that side where that side the pool is, that will be where the tennis courts will be," said Shelley Aibner, pointing to different spots at Metro Park in Rifle. Aibner is the co-chair for the Rifle Recreation & Community Center (RRCC).
For years many Rifle citizens have longed for a place to recreate, one that accommodates all ages.
"I just believe that Rifle has to have this. It's not a want anymore, it's a necessity. It's something that will create vitality in our community," said Aibner.
They're closer to their vision than ever before.
Aron Diaz, campaign director of RRCC, said, "There's an axiom in economic development terms, that says if a city's not growing, it's dying. These are the kinds of things that we need to do to keep people wanting to move here, wanting to stay here."
To make the recreation center a reality, voters must approve an increased sales tax.
"We are asking the citizens of Rifle to increase the city sales tax by .74 percent," said Diaz.
"It's 74 cents out of $100, really?" said Aibner.
However, the city faced an increased sales tax just last year.
"We also have a new $25 million debt because of the new water treatment plant. Clean water is a necessity and rec centers aren't," said Susan Nichols, head volunteer of Rifle No More Taxes.
The group Rifle No More Taxes formed in March to stand against the new recreation center sales tax.
"We're not opposed to rec centers, we're opposed to paying taxes for it. We feel that the funds could be obtained elsewhere," said Nichols.
This issue hits close to home for both sides.
"We need this community center, it's mandatory," said Aibner.
"No more. It's time to put our foot down and to have our local government and certain groups here in town stop using us as their checkbook," said Nichols.
Rifle citizens will begin to receive their mail-in ballots in August.
To visit the Rifle No More Taxes Facebook, click here
To visit the Rifle Recreation & Community Center Facebook, click here