Rec center, shopping needed, Castle Pines survey says

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Nine out of 10 Castle Pines citizens polled in the city's first citizen survey said they viewed overall quality of life there as “good” or “excellent.”

“Overall quality of life, the image and reputation of Castle Pines and the city as a place to live and raise children all were rated favorably,” according to a summary statement in a survey conducted by Boulder-based National Research Center Inc.

But concerns showed up when asked about some aspects of city services and recreational opportunities.

“Respondents rated recreational and cultural opportunities lower than other communities in the nation,” according to the survey results.

The most popular answer given by the about 1,400 citizens who completed the survey about what they liked most about Castle Pines was the city's location — and beyond that, safety and the overall image and reputation of the city were top answers.

Very few indicated that cost of living is what they liked most about living there, according to the survey results.

High on the wish list of citizens was having a recreation center. But Castle Pines Councilmember Kathy DesRosiers said in a recent interview that she noticed there was a steep drop-off in the number of citizens willing to pay for a recreation center. Most suggested support of user fees, but only 55 percent supported a sales tax increase and 31 percent supported a property tax increase.

“Everyone wants a rec center,” said Castle Pines Councilmember Kim Hoffman. “But there are not enough funds.”

More than half of the respondents also wanted to see more “breakfast/cafes and hardware stores.”

The survey indicated that more than 80 percent of respondents rated services such as the fire district, sheriff's department, drinking water, parks, library and street signage as excellent or good. But in the government performance category, 51 percent thought the overall direction the city was taking was either “fair” or “poor.”

In the list of suggestions and complaints from survey takers, the need for a rec center and more retail stores came up frequently, as did regrets that Castle Pines ever became a city.

Hoffman said she thinks citizens might assume a project they have concerns about — like a road being torn up — is a city project, but it's actually being done being done by a homeowners association.

She said there's still not enough communication.

“We're a `baby' city … still trying to figure things out,” she said.