2020 revenues better than projected

The Evergreen Park & Recreation District ended 2020 closer to its budgeted revenue thanks to a couple of large grants — something officials didn’t think was possible because of the pandemic.

District officials had expected revenues to be around $4.6 million by the end of 2020, $2.3 million less than had been projected before anyone knew the pandemic would happen.

Thanks to a $525,000 grant from the Department of Local Affairs and $52,000 from Great Outdoors Colorado, the district made up another $577,000, according to district financial controller Karen Pawlak.

Helping the district to balance its budget, Pawlak said, was herculean efforts by the staff to cut expenses.

“I’m proud of the staff and what they did,” Pawlak said, “to get through this incredibly trying time, and we still were fiscally responsible. We were able to keep operations open to the best of our ability and provided the community with everything that we possibly could.”

She projects that 2021 will be less predictable until rec district programs are able to open up fully, and the 2022 budget will be much closer to the district’s pre-pandemic budget.

Board members at the Feb. 23 meeting suggested that they could revisit the district’s reserve accounts — saving money to replace the turf field at Marshdale Park and to replace the Wulf pool, and for future park development — because the board removed contributions to the accounts in 2021 to use for district operations. The 2021 budget originally had $300,000 for those three items.

North lake trail plans more in focus

Plans for the Evergreen Lake North Trail are firming up, with the final office review meeting set for March 31, Chris Vogelsang with OV Consulting told the Evergreen Park & Recreation District board on Feb. 23.

Trail construction is expected to start later this year and take about 12 months. It will include two tiers — replacing the trail along Evergreen Parkway and adding one along the lake shore. EPRD has procured $3.8 million in grants to build the trail. EPRD, the Evergreen Metropolitan District, Colorado Department of Transportation and the city of Denver are stakeholders in the project.

Vogelsang said stakeholders have decided a concrete pillar and cable system will be used as a fence between the trail and the road to keep true to the original intent of the trail and for safety.

In addition, designers are working the trail design around a pillar on the dam because the dam is a historic structure.

EPRD wins water rights case

The Evergreen Park & Recreation District has prevailed in a water rights case for the Buchanan ponds.

“For all intents and purposes,” EPRD board President Peter Lindquist said at the Feb. 23 EPRD meeting, “the ponds are alive and well. The Evergreen Metropolitan District has storage rights for the ponds.”

EPRD worked with EMD to obtain official water rights to allow the ponds to continue to be in operation, EMD General Manager Dave Lighthart explained. The benefit to EMD is the ponds are another source of water, so if water must be released to other entities with water rights downstream, the water can come from the ponds rather than Evergreen Lake.

“It is in both EMD’s and EPRD’s best interest to keep Evergreen Lake as full as possible,” he said.

The water rights court case has taken several years.

Hours expanding at rec centers

Hours at both rec centers are expanding in March because the recreation district is moving to blue on the COVID-19 dial.

The Buchanan Rec Center will be open from 5:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m.-2:15 p.m. Saturday. The Wulf Rec Center will be open from 5:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. and 3:30-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 5:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday.