March 1 Reopening!

The Gilpin County Community Center reopens on March 1!  Reservations are required and users can get them by logging in to the Center’s Website at — once there, select the “Fitness Reservations” dropdown and select a time to come in. Each reservation is an hour long. 

The Center is on Phase 1 hours, which are Monday and Wednesday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m, Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are open for Youth Camp only. 

Many people are asking about the pool hours. The pool will not be open in Phase 1.  The Center is still looking to hire lifeguards and an Aquatics coordinator, so if anyone knows of people who qualify, point them to the Gilpin County HR page. 


Reopening Soon!

Here’s the latest on the Gilpin County Community Center reopening.

Last Saturday, a group of 25 volunteers from FGCCC, local 4H clubs, and other residents met at the center to help with cleaning and prepping. This is all to get it ready for an early March re-opening under guidelines from state and county health departments as well as the county commissioners.

Gabrielle should be releasing more information about the reopening by February 27th. She reminds everyone that the center will require reservations and people will be reserving a specific time slot to come and enjoy the center. This is as much for staff safety as well as for visitors.

Here’s a short video you should watch, which outlines all the rules for using the center under pandemic guidelines. Special thanks to FGCCC President Carolyn Collins Petersen, FGCCC special group leader Steve Schwettman, FGCCC secretary pro tem Karen Eye, Center staffers, and Mark C. Petersen, for their help in making this short instructional video.


Opening Update

Plans are moving ahead for re-opening the Community Center, and staff is being hired. If all goes well, the re-opening should happen in early March, depending on how quickly the staff members can be trained, and the center made ready for safe use. The center is being cleaned, and a group of selected volunteers will be assisting director Gabrielle Chisholm on February 20th. Opening hours are still being set, and fees will be discussed at a work session with the County Commissioners on February 16th.

The county is still looking to hire lifeguards and an Aquatics Coordinator. These positions must be filled before the pool can be reopened. Anyone wishing to apply should check out the listings here.  Please help spread the word so that we can safely reopen our pools! 

We will post more information as it becomes available about the anticipated reopening of the Community Center! 


Reopening Plans Moving Ahead

As most of you know, Gilpin County has finalized its 2021 budget and is making plans for the mill levy money that is now dedicated to reopening our Community Center. In addition, the county is working on reopening plans for the Community Center and has sent out a press release with some details, which you can download and read at the following link.

The community center is now under the fine direction of Parks & Recreation director Gabrielle Chisholm. She is currently working on interviewing candidates for the staff positions at the Center. Once she has her staff in place and trained, the next step is to get the center ready for reopening. This includes cleaning, installation of plexiglass barriers at the front desk, and stocking of PPE and masks. 

Once all that is done, the next step could well be Phase 1 of the reopening plan. Keep in mind that any reopening plans are subject to the vagaries of the pandemic, as well as progress in the vaccination schedule.  But, if all goes well, the Community Center will open up for low-touch individual activities and licensed child care, possibly as early as mid-February.  If all goes well, the center will then move on to include low-participant group activities such as fitness classes, pottery, pickleball, and aquatics. 

As a reminder: All planning phases and timelines will need to be flexible and follow Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment COVID-19 guidelines. Parks & Recreation staff will work closely with Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht, to make sure operations are
keeping residents, guests and employees safe.

We at FGCCC will work to keep everyone informed about the opening date as soon as the County (under state supervision) deems it safe to welcome guests to the Community Center. 


New P&R Director Chosen: Gabrielle Chisholm

The Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya has announced the hiring of a new Parks & Recreation Department director:
“As you know, we have been conducting a search for our next Director of Parks and Recreation.  We had over thirty applicants that represented a well-rounded and very experienced profession.  After three interviews and two meet and greets, I am pleased to announce that Gabrielle Chisholm has accepted the position to be our next Director of Parks and Recreation.  Gabrielle has proven she has the skills necessary to excel at this position.  Her passion for her field and ability to take on new challenges have been evident through the recruitment process.  She will begin her new job on December 28, 2020. Please join me in welcoming Gabrielle to her new role.”



1B Passes

The good news from this past week is that the mill levy to support the reopening of the Community Center has passed. We thank all the voters and supporters who stepped forward to make this happen. The Community Center is a resource all Gilpinites can enjoy, and we look forward to seeing its doors open once again.

We at Friends of the Gilpin County Community Center will be advising and giving feedback to the county on various aspects of the reopening, and we welcome others who wish to join our community friends group. We are not County employees, but are a group of neighbors who have stepped up to provide the county with citizen feedback and other aspects of support for our Community Center.

The County is moving forward with a re-opening plan. The first thing up on the list is to start hiring staff for the center. Jobs are currently listed on the Gilpin County People and Culture page.  The hiring process will take several weeks followed by appropriate training for each position filled. The center’s buildings and grounds need to be made ready for reopening.  Based on what we have heard in meetings with the county commissioners, we could see a reopening in early February. Hiring and training will affect this schedule. 

Another important thing to remember is the existence of the novel coronavirus in our state and county. The number of case rates will affect reopening, particularly if they rise enough to require more shutdowns. If the Colorado Health Department deems it necessary to close things down again, our Community Center reopening will be impacted.

Gilpin County currently is in “Safer at Home, Dial Level=yellow” status. This means that people are encouraged to stay home as much as possible,  not mingle in large groups, and consider canceling any large family gatherings during the upcoming holidays. The masking requirement remains active. For the latest details on the COVID-19 and our county’s status, check out the Gilpin County public health site. 

What Happens When the Center Reopens?

When the center is finally allowed to open, it may be on a restricted schedule. The county personnel are still figuring this out, along with planning how to accommodate the activities most in demand. When that schedule is released, we will post it here and we’re sure the county will also make an announcement. But, in the beginning, people should expect that there will be limited hours and a limited number of people inside the building. Masks will be required, and there will be measures in place to clean the facilities and equipment as often as possible. This is all to keep Gilpinites safe in the face of the pandemic. As time goes by, the Parks and Recreation director will be assessing how it’s going and when it will be safe to add more activities and hours.

Everyone’s greatest hope is that we get back to a reasonably good schedule of hours and activities as soon as it is safe to do so. This is what we all worked for when we asked the County Commissioners to put a mill levy on the ballot. 


Ballot Issues Forum

The Rotary Club of Gilpin County is hosting a Town Hall Meeting on Friday, October 9, at noon. It will be held on Zoom and will feature presentations about all four mill levy issues before the voters. 


Friends of Gilpin County Community Center Group Formed


September 12, 2020

A group of Gilpin County residents has banded together to support reopening the county’s Community Center Campus. The facilities, at 250 Norton Drive in Black Hawk, were closed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic by the State Public Health Department and have been shuttered indefinitely as a result of budget shortfalls due to the immediate loss of gaming tax revenue. To support a re-opening effort, the county has placed Issue 1B on the ballot. It calls for citizens to vote in a three-year property tax mill levy of 2.57 mills. If passed, the increased property taxes will be dedicated solely to the Parks and Recreation Department for re-opening the center campus early in 2021. The funding will cover minimum staffing and other expenses to keep it open during the period of the levy. If the mill levy does not pass, current revenue and expenditure projections show that it could be as many as eight years before the center could be reopened.

Faced with long-term closure of this community resource, citizens began talking earlier this year about ways to reopen it. Their discussions led to the formation of the Friends of the Gilpin County Community Center (FGCCC), a non-profit organization. “Our goal is to support the mission of the Community center campus and its vital position in the life of our mountain community,” said Carolyn Collins Petersen, the group’s president. “We created FGCCC to be a support arm for Parks and Recreation and the community center because so many people want to see the facilities reopened, with all appropriate precautions and following health department guidelines. Our members live throughout the County and span the political spectrum. While we are supporting the passage of a mill levy in the short term, our long-term goals are to find ways to keep our community center open and expand its offerings.”

The Gilpin County Community Center campus opened in 2003 and is managed by the Gilpin County Parks and Recreation Department. It consists of a recreation building, barn, arena, ballfields, BMX track, and hiking trail. The main facility is a certified Red Cross evacuation shelter for families and livestock, and has a secure drop-off point for ballots during elections.

FGCCC plans to work with County leadership and the Parks and Recreation Department on issues related to the center, and to apply for grant funding for specific programs at the Community Center campus. The group also wants the County government to think of the FGCCC’s membership as a two-way sounding board, to facilitate communication about community center needs.

Many residents rely on facilities at the Community Center campus to meet their recreational and community needs. It’s a multi-purpose area with ballfields, a barn and riding arena, BMX track, and hiking trail. The main building has a meeting room, sports and wellness facilities, pottery studio, and more. The campus hosts after-school groups, youth and senior activities, quilting and sewing groups, classes, artists and potters, and a comfortable space for people to enjoy board games.

Senior lunches have always been a big draw. FGCCC group member Donna Okray Parman is a supporter of reopening the Center for all its diverse needs. “We are seniors who retired to Gilpin County five years ago, following our grandchildren! We moved from our home to a place where we knew no one,” she said. “The Gilpin Seniors invited us to lunch at the Community Center one day after we exercised, and voila — a new family, new friends for a lifetime. That pool is a lifesaver for me, and the fellowship with other seniors on a regular basis is a blessing we couldn’t have imagined.”

Member Steve Schwettman, who heads FGCCC’s Wellness, Sports and Recreation Team, pointed out that the center has always been important to County students, too. “I noticed the teens would hang out at the open basketball court in the gym after school, which was a safe place for them to congregate, he said. “It’s crucial to have our Center open for their activities, too.”

Other events include the County Fair, 4H shows and rodeos, the High Country Auxiliary Chili Dinner and Silent Auction, the Winter Arts Festival, Easter Egg hunts, dances, Farmer’s Market, and candidate meet-and-greets. In the past year, the center also hosted hearings about the FAA Metroplex plan, as well as political group meetings. Colorado State University maintains a presence for its Extension program, and offers programs about forestry, wildfire, wildlife, mountain gardening, noxious weeds and many other issues relevant to the region.

While the main campus is mostly closed, Gilpin County Animal Response Team (GCART), which is headquartered on the Community Center campus, has been able to get the arena, BMX track, and ball fields opened for very limited use, along with the barn for 4H activities through CSU Extension. The County has won a Great Outdoors Colorado grant, which is reserved for outdoor recreation only. The grant will not affect the larger closure issues. In addition, for Election Day this year, the multi-purpose room at the main Community Center building will be open, but otherwise the building remains closed.

“The Center is at the heart of our Gilpin community,” said Petersen. “It gets used for many events and purposes. With its closure, we’ve lost access to nearly all the activities it hosted that make Gilpin special. I know it’s tough to ask people for even a small tax increase for a few years. But it’s also hard to imagine Gilpin County without its senior lunches, the fair, the chili dinner, a place to exercise, to take the kids for activities, or even as a place to do some holiday shopping. A lot of residents agreed with that, and it’s why we all got together to form our group to support its complete re-opening and future operations.”

Friends of the Gilpin County Community Center’s Web site is at It contains information about the group, how to donate to FGCCC, and news about the upcoming mill levy vote.

For further information about the group, including media inquiries, contact Carolyn Collins Petersen at cc dot petersen @ gmail dot com.