Residents share views on tax vote for Casey Jones Park proposal

Park overhaul is worth cost to some, while others say answer is no

Posted
The upcoming May 3 vote on a proposed mill levy increase to help fund Casey Jones Park improvements has drawn split opinions among Elizabeth Park & Recreation District residents.
 
On April 10, the Elbert County News reached out to residents on the Elizabeth Community & Events Facebook page seeking opinions on the ballot question for this article.
 
Based on social media public comment, those who plan to “yes” generally believe the property tax increase is worth it for the benefits they would receive from the park improvements. They think the improvements will help modernize the town of Elizabeth and that the park improvements would provide amenities for the growing community, covering all demographics of residents (e.g., children, teens, seniors, adults, etc.).
 
Also based on social media public comment, those who plan to vote “no” generally believe the proposed park improvement would not be worth the cost of the tax hike. Many also think that as written, the ballot language is vague and they are concerned that some of the proposed improvements would not be fulfilled. Some also don’t want growth or change to come to Elizabeth.
 

Comments and opinions of residents who plan to vote yes

 
“We have two small boys and would welcome the ability to use a recreation center in Elizabeth. The increase in tax to pay for it seems modest in our situation. So, we will be voting for it.” — Dan Terrill
 
“I think with as fast as the area is growing, we need to take our public facilities up to par. I pay higher property taxes in this county than in any other I have lived. I am a Colorado native with deep roots. I don’t mind paying appropriate taxes as long as I am receiving appropriate services.” — Michelle Lynn
 
“Our taxes in Elbert County have lagged behind inflation and the needs of the community; I don’t mind putting money back into our area and keeping it local. Our taxes will provide improved amenities, beautiful parks and community areas, and valuable services — all good things. I would much rather my money stay in Elizabeth and Elbert County than go towards gas to drive to Parker or Castle Rock and pay for Douglas County amenities. Elizabeth Park and Recreation Department has done a great job with what they have but the facilities here need improvement and growth to serve the many families and folks who live here. I love the scope of the proposal because I don’t see an age group or demographic who won’t be able to enjoy the proposed improvements — rodeo arena, bathrooms, sports facilities, dog park, recreation center, walking paths, etc. It’s about so much more than a rec center.” — Nicky ZQ
 
“Worth every penny. I wish we could have done this years ago when my kids were young. I personally will take advantage of what will be offered. It doesn’t bother me, if accurate, the mill levy/tax won’t sunset. It means the funding will continue to help maintain and improve the district’s needs.” — EJ Goody
 
“We are voting yes and are excited at the idea of having a community rec center so close. It’s a good thing for kids, families, seniors, teens, everyone! We drive to Castle Rock and Parker often for swimming and sports and would prefer to keep our money in Elizabeth. I think it could create some great job opportunities for teens too. Big believer that sports and community keep kids/teens out of trouble and that community centers are wonderful for seniors. With all the dense residential developments coming over the next ten years, I think this project is needed.” — Meghan Sweder
 
“I will be voting yes! With the Elizabeth community growing, this will be a wonderful addition for families and all ages. Instead of sending our kids to Parker, we can keep them closer to home. Today alone, both my daughters used the Parker Fieldhouse (we average 2-4 trips/week). Also economic driver for local businesses, they’ll stop off and grab a meal, groceries, etc.” — Jennifer Bahr
 
“It is 2022, and we are in a very bustling and gorgeous home in Colorado. We have everything this beautiful earth has to offer, right here! We are blessed to have the opportunity to oversee positive growth in our area, because no matter your stance, it will come! I would love a safe and local place for our children to have community.
 
I would love for Elizabeth and Elbert County to set the bar for development for its people and their healthy future!” — Michelle Thomas
 

Comments and opinions of residents who plan to vote no

 
“We as a family are voting NO. It is a blank check with no end in sight and no accountability. It is too extravagant and with the inflation hitting us. We flat cannot afford to pay any more taxes.” — Michelle Peneton
 
“The wording is vague, and they are asking for a mill levy increase rather than a bond. As a senior citizen on a fixed income, our property taxes will be increasing significantly, and this mill levy will increase the taxes forever. I am not saying the concept of a rec center is a bad idea, but they need to look at a bond which will expire after a certain length of time as well as wording of the ballot to what WILL be included not what MAY be included. As it stands now, I am not in favor of it.” — Diane Varner
 
“There are lots of great projects that would improve our community, like buying land for open space, paving some more roads, public transportation, and a recreation center to name a few. Paying for the recreation center with a mil levy tax is a bureaucrat’s dream. It’s a forever source of money that continues grow with increasing property assessments. In addition, everyone living in the Elizabeth Park & Recreation District (+/- 100 square miles) will all pay this increasing forever tax whether you ever use the recreation center or not.” — Ron Korsch
 
“My biggest concern is how they’ve identified the proposed amenities. It says the rec center '... may include ...' We’ve all seen the plans (artist renderings), but plans can be scrapped. I’ve only been on EC for about 18 months ... and already have trust issues.” — Lorene Thornburg
 
“My family is voting no. The fact that they want more RV and yurt spaces is insane. Who is that going to attract? Why would Elizabeth need that? No more taxes, and the noise and traffic are going to make that area unbearable. We are a rural community and want to stay that way.” — Nan Mostacciuolo
 
“With the vague amenity suggestions, it is just as likely this is all we will get after voting in an open-ended, perpetual tax increase. This area has 3 gyms available now. We have been promised a pool for the kids in so many different pie in the sky proposals to get the vote and then the pool plans disappear. Let’s get a pool, but let’s get a guarantee for our money and not some vague suggestion.” — Kristi Coffin
 
“I’m on the fence. It’s a much needed thing for our community but I think the improvements are excessive. We’ve needed a pool of some sort out here for years and ever since I was little people have tried to get some sort of rec center in the town. But the wording says 'may' include a pool. And then all the other improvements.” — Sarah Patterson
 

Voting information

 
There are three 24-hour ballot drop-off locations available: One is at Elizabeth Town Hall, 151 S. Banner St. in Elizabeth; another is at Singing Hills Elizabeth Fire Station just north of County Road 166 at 41002 Firehouse St., southeast of Parker; and the third is at the Samuel Elbert Building at 440 Comanche St. in Kiowa. Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on May 3 to be counted.
 
Voters may vote in-person at the Elbert County Elections Office at 440 Comanche St. in Kiowa from April 25 through May 3.
 
Elizabeth Park & Recreation District, property tax, Colorado, Casey Jones Park

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