By April 17, 2017

Improving Anthem: Vote For Your Preferred Project

anthem

Anthem from above. Photo by Bob Copen

By Robert Roy Britt — In May, Anthem Community Council plans to begin formal consideration of four new project proposals as part of the community’s new Master Plan, which prescribes using the enhancement fund to create or improve amenities.

Several other ideas suggested by residents in years past are no longer under consideration. Many of those ideas, which were part of a 2012-13 Master Plan, fell by the wayside in 2013, after Council made a surprise decision pay $3.8 million in cash for the purchase and renovation of the Civic Building, draining the enhancement fund. Opportunity Way Park is Anthem’s most recent project completed with enhancement funds.

(Financed by a quarter-percent fee on the sales price of homes, the enhancement fund was at $1.1 million in January and is expected to increase by about $500,000 each year. The money could be spent on one big project or several small ones. It was most recently used to build the popular Opportunity Way Park for $2.6 million.)

The old ideas aren’t necessarily dead, however. Neal Shearer, community operations officer, said it’s a “remote possibility” that the board could decide to do none of the four new proposals. Community feedback would weigh on any decision, he said.

“The Board has the discretion to reassess community recreational needs in the future,” said Neal Shearer, community operations officer. “And in doing so, project proposals from the 2012-13 Master Plan process could be reconsidered.”

Which ideas are best?

We think you should have a say. Vote below (Deadline: Monday, April 24). We’ll report the results online and in In&Out Magazine prior to the May council meeting. Keep in mind there are as yet no firm cost estimates for most of these projects.

New Ideas

Dog Park: Proponents say this idea, a revived version of one floated for years, would curb the number of unleashed dogs in other parks and encourage socialization of dog owners. Suggested location: Council-owned land adjacent to the park-and-ride off Daisy Mountain Drive. Details >>>

Pickleball Courts: Proponents envision 12 lighted courts for this racquet sport that combines aspects of badminton, tennis and table tennis. Suggested location: Open field south of the community center currently used for pee-wee soccer. Details >>>

Skate Park Expansion: Concerns over safety related to the mix of skateboarders and scooter users, plus general overcrowding, are behind this idea. Suggested location: grassy area adjacent to existing park on south side. Details >>>

Indoor Skate Park: This would give kids another alternative to the sometimes-crowded outdoor skate park. It’s not clear in the proposal how such a facility would be operated, given the need for attendants and supervision. Suggested location: land next to U-Haul on North Vision Way. Details >>>

Community Center Expansion (modest version): Already tentatively approved by Council, this project will add to the 2nd-floor gym space by enclosing a balcony on the east side. It is expected to cost $692,118, with $533,648 coming from the enhancement fund and the rest from the reserve fund. Details >>>

Previous Ideas

Amphitheater Conversion: Re-orient the stage to north/south so the sun is not so brutal, widen tiers to create more seating, and provide shade and possibly a permanent structure for sound and lighting equipment.

Additional Pool: A second lap pool or competition swimming pool would alleviate crowding in the existing pool, which could be shifted to primarily recreational use.

Community Center Expansion (ambitious version): Expand the north side of the building to incorporate racquetball courts below and more gym space above.

Liberty Bell Park Improvements: In the grassy area, create a formal multi-use/soccer field, bocce ball courts and/or horseshoe pits and/or a half-court for basketball, plus add parking.

Main Street (no longer viable): The idea to create Anthem’s own Main Street—with specialty shops and restaurants along a two-lane road and on-street parking—was developed several years ago after paying a consultant to identify community needs. The idea was dropped and a portion of the proposed area is now the site of Enclave at Anthem Senior Living.

The Do-Nothing Option: It seems each new Council board wants to make its mark with a new enhancement project. Without letting the fund accumulate, larger projects, like a new pool or community center expansion, remain outside the realm of possibility. Letting the fund grow for a couple years could get the community closer to completing a multi-million dollar project.

Shearer said it’s a “remote possibility” that the board could decide to do none of the four new proposals. Community feedback would weigh on any decision, he said. 

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