Combining an area renowned for its proximity to superlative outdoor assets with an exceptional, new indoor space aims to entice people of all ages, from near and far, to Montrose for a play date.
As a community that values the importance of fitness and recreation, Montrose is fortunate to have a new indoor facility that expands recreational options for residents — and visitors — of all ages.
At the heart of indoor recreation in Montrose is the brand new Montrose Community Recreation Center (CRC) operated by the Montrose Recreation District (MRD), an agency that has provided youth, adult, and senior activities to the community for over 60 years. A monument to tremendous cooperation and financial support from myriad residents, community organizations, and the city, the 83,000 square foot facility is the largest in western Colorado and offers something for everyone, including racquetball, gymnasium space, pools, game rooms, party rooms, a climbing wall, an indoor track, exercise areas, and fitness classrooms.
Bringing the outside in
While recreating indoors, the center’s design echoes the rich outdoor recreational opportunities that surround Montrose.
Inside the front doors of the CRC, an expansive rock climbing wall, modeled after the original Painted Wall at the nearby Black Canyon National Park, towers high above the game area. With challenging cracks and aretes, the 27 foot wall offers something for experienced climbers and novices alike. Students from the Montrose High School (MHS) competitive climbing team help staff the wall, offering assistance and instruction for kids and grownups who are new to climbing.
Nearby, tucked below a trestle that pays homage the area’s rich railroad history is the registration desk, where guests can check out the center’s offerings like senior programs, summer enrichment program for kids 12 and under, or the annual, city-wide Youth Appreciation Day in mid-August where kids get the chance to enjoy a variety of free activities before the school year starts. The MRD’s quarterly activity guide details their robust offerings for the CRC and other facilities in town.
A well-equipped visitor center kiosk allows patrons to browse materials on things to do and see, places to eat, and where to shop — or they can interact with an electronic display to create customized recreation, dining, and shopping experiences or day trips. Childcare services at the CRC let kids play inside and allow parents the freedom to enjoy some time outside.
The CRC’s second floor exercise mezzanine hosts cardio equipment, circuit machines, and free weights. With views that reach southward toward the snowcapped San Juan Mountains, the mezzanine has one of the best overlooks in town. The unique indoor track features inclines and declines suspended above the gymnasium complemented by views that extend north toward the Grand Mesa and east toward the Adobe Badlands. Along the east wall, a mural depicts a silhouette of the striking and rugged Cimarron Range and includes names and elevations of many of its prominent mountains and peaks, like Courthouse Mountain and Coxcomb Peak. The threecircuit track includes a regular, hill, and stair course. Three trips around the track completes a mile. And while childcare is available at the center, strollers are allowed on the track for those who want to include their kids in the fun.
Pools with panache
Water is central to the Uncompahgre Valley, and it’s no different at the center. In 1909 the community celebrated the completion of the Gunnison Tunnel, an engineering marvel that transformed Montrose by bringing irrigation water from the Gunnison River to the arid Uncompahgre Valley. A large wall mural of the historic celebratory structure flanks the entrance to the locker rooms and serves as the portal to the center’s pools that have the latest features to keep kids and families coming back for more.
The beach entry slopes down to a water playground that features water spinners and toddler-sized slides. Kids and adults who want to sit back and relax can rent tubes and float in the “lazy river,” a part of the pool where swimmers can paddle either with the water’s current at a leisurely pace or against it for more of a workout, or just relax and “laze” along.
The twisty slide exits the building before it spirals around and comes back through the wall at the bottom. Nine individual changing cabanas, in addition to the men’s and women’s locker rooms, provide spaces where young families may ready themselves together, whether coming or going.
With 11 lanes, the 25-yard by 25-meter competition pool serves as home to MHS’s swimming and diving teams as well as the year-round Montrose Marlins Swim Club. The water options are rounded out by three diving boards (including a high dive), a drop slide, slack line, basketball hoops, and floating water bridge.
Upcycling: the new Field House
With the new recreation center online in January 2017, the former MRD Aquatic Center at 25 Colorado Ave will become the MRD Field House. The outdoor slide, pool, and splash pad will remain while the interior transforms to house turf fields, a batting cage, and classrooms. The repurposed facility will welcome regular league and drop-in play for soccer and lacrosse as well as other field sports. The MRD hopes to have the indoor site in service by summer 2017 to begin yearround operations and hosting tournaments — lots of them. The outdoor pool and amenities are open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
For big kids
Adult programming is offered year round. Co-ed leagues are growing in popularity and are offered together with men’s and women’s leagues for traditional options like basketball, softball, flag football, and volleyball, along with nontraditional choices like dodgeball, kickball, and pickleball. Drop-in and pickup games are offered for basketball, soccer, and ultimate frisbee.
The MRD’s 50+ programming offers a full slate of events to keep the 50+ crowd busy, entertained, and educated. The options include activities like programs, games, and dancing; services like chair massage, pedicures, and reflexology; and more than 40 weekly group classes, including Silver Sneakers fitness classes and pickleball. The pride and joy of all the senior activities is their robust travel program that offers regional day trips to a variety of recreational, educational, and cultural venues.
Options for outdoor fun in the surrounding region have always been vast, and with the new CRC standing as a beacon to fitness, the possibilities for indoor offerings right in the heart of town are just as engaging. Come to Montrose to visit — or live — an ideal, recreation-rich lifestyle in a supportive, health-conscious community.