What is FGCCC’s Purpose?
Our group came together in early summer 2020, focused on finding ways to get the center funded and reopened. When the 2020 mill levy passed and the center re-opened, we continued to pursue longer-term goals. We have formed a non-profit 501c3 so we are eligible for funding from private and public resources, and are working to expand and improve Center offerings and events.
What has FGCCC accomplished?
Our group of volunteers were very active in providing information and promoting the mill levy as a short-term funding solution. Since user fees are now an important part of needed revenue, we performed a survey of similar recreation centers in the local area and provided input to the county that kept community center fees reasonable and lower than that of other centers. As the center reopened, each of our interest group leaders kept their members informed of progress and provided member feedback to the planning process.
Many members joined in the clean-up of the center facilities and equipment, and produced a video on COVID procedures to ensure a safe reopening. We advocated with Silver Sneakers, RenewFit, and Silver & Fit programs to contract with the center so that seniors’ health insurance benefits would cover the cost of access to exercise and swim facilities. A current focus is on helping to plan and fund a successful “Old Fashioned” (volunteer) county fair.
Why is the Center not open on Tuesdays and some classes are no longer offered?
The mill levy does not provide the full budget needed to operate and staff the facility every day. There is not enough revenue to pay instructors for all the classes offered in the past. Class instructors now serve as independent contractors and provide classes where the enrollment fees will be sufficient to cover the costs. As more people return to use the center, additional classes may become feasible. As FGCCC and/or the county are able to secure grant and sponsor funding other programs and events may be possible.
How Can I get Involved?
FGCCC welcomes Gilpinites interested in our main mission to provide a support arm to the Community Center and the Parks and Recreation Department. Our members are looking for ways to increase the Center’s sustainability over the next few years.
FGCCC members are spread out throughout the county and across the political spectrum. We are all united by the wish to help our Community Center in any way we can. You are welcome to join any of our subgroups or write to us with suggestions, comments, and questions. See About page for more information. You are also encouraged to donate money to support our efforts. We have 501(c)3 status and are a Colorado charitable corporation so donations are tax-deductible. Donated funds are used for outreach, education, and administrative costs associated with fundraising and other activities. Our officers are all volunteers and do not take salaries.
Why was the Parks & Recreation issue on the 2020 ballot?
The Community Center Campus relied on the county to provide its operating budget through the Parks and Recreation Department. 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 remained shuttered until March 2021 as a result of budget shortfalls due to the immediate loss of gaming tax revenue. To support a re-opening effort, the county commissioners placed Issue 1B on the ballot. The increased property tax funds raised by the mill levy are dedicated solely to keeping the center open at a minimum level and keeping it open during for the duration of the mill levy period. The current operating hours and programs reflect what the mill levy revenues can support. User fees cover the cost of programs as they are added. Further budget information for the Center (and all county departments) can be found on the county’s Website.
Where does the Parks & Recreation budget normally come from?
County tax revenue, income from gaming, and user fees are the primary funding sources for the community center campus. It would be financially unrealistic to operate the campus solely on user fees, which is why the mill levy was requested.
Why doesn’t the County do fundraising or seek grants to fund the Center?
It does. While there is an ongoing effort to secure grants, many grantors are limited in what they will fund, typically for staffing, infrastructure, or supplies for a specific program. The county has applied for several grants this year. While a few have been successful, particularly in supporting some outdoor activities and services, many of the county’s requests have been turned down. Others are still pending. Until any grants materialize, main expenses such as utilities and building staff have no funding source.
Friends of the Gilpin County Community Center, as a 501(c)3 corporation CAN go after more grants available to groups outside of County government. That is our intent and we are pursuing as many avenues for support as we can for long-term sustainability. However, the Community Center Campus needs a stable source of funding in the short term, which is why the County Commissioners have placed Issue 1B on the ballot.
I don’t even use the Community Center, so why should I pay for it?
On the home page of our site, we show some of the ways the Community Center Campus contributes to an active, engaged, and healthy community. We have also prepared a downloadable position paper document discussing the issues surrounding the Center and Ballot Issue 1B.
We feel that this is a vital community service, as did the original commissioners who created the center in 2003. The community center is often mentioned in real estate listings as a positive thing. Its existence has a direct effect on your property value, increasing the desirability of home ownership in the county.