A Midvalley man is expected to find out this week whether his updated plan to build a privately-funded recreation center in the El Jebel region can move from the drawing board to the government review process.
Sheldon Wolitski said he has a concept agreement to purchase 5.5 acres of land for the leisure center from Crawford Properties, owners of El Jebel Plaza and the mobile home park as well as surrounding commercial properties and vacant lots. The proposed purchase of a site in the heart of El Jebel is conditional on obtaining approval for the recreation center and associated buildings from Eagle County.
Wolitski said he has scheduled a preliminary meeting with Eagle County officials this week to assess what will be needed in the review process. If he is optimistic about the prospects, he will proceed with a formal request, he said. A proposal would be required to go through the Eagle County review process, with public hearings.
The site is vacant land north of JW Drive and east of the Blue Lake Subdivision. It is also adjacent to land reserved for a primary school.
“It really ticks every box,” Wolitski said of the site.
His checklist includes a flat property with readily available infrastructure, a nearby bus stop, and access for the Latin American population. Wolitski said he doesn’t know when the Roaring Fork School District plans to build the elementary school, but he wants to come up with the idea of sharing parking with the school for at least some of the space needed. . School usage would be highest during the day. Use of the recreation center would be highest after school and in the evening.
Its vision is to build a 60,000 square foot facility that includes an indoor hockey rink and an additional outdoor rink in the winter; a multipurpose pavilion that would include a running and walking track; and in a later phase companies focused on health, well-being and longevity. The complex would have a state-of-the-art gymnasium as well as surfaces for indoor soccer, lacrosse and other activities. The structure would have several garage doors that could be opened under the right conditions. It explores the idea of a world-class climbing wall.
“How can we make it a one-stop shop? ” he said.
The idea of a Midvalley Recreation Center has been around for several years. Wolitski’s vision is unique because he would develop it without the help of taxpayers.
“It would be 100% paying off,” he said. “My number one goal is to make it affordable.”
Wolitski is a successful entrepreneur who recently moved to the Roaring Fork Valley with his family. He has a passion for hockey after growing up in Canada and attending college in the United States. He shifts his focus from his business to philanthropy.
Through his company called Colorado Extreme, this year he installed a cooling system for an outdoor ice rink and a hockey rink at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. Free programs to get kids skating and introducing them to hockey drew over 400 participants this winter. The program will wrap up for the season with ice time and potluck on March 11.
Wolitski hopes to move the outdoor rink to the JW Drive site next winter. It aims to apply the same dynamic spirit to the larger vision of a leisure centre.
Wolitski initially considered placing the facility on land leased from Crown Mountain Park, but decided for various reasons that it would be better for his organization to own the land where the recreation center would be located.
He recently explored a site across Catherine Road from the grounds of Carbondale Rodeo, but ultimately ruled that out due to a lack of infrastructure.
Now he is excited about the prospect of working with Crawford Properties on the El Jebel site.