Riverton Rec Center Catching Steam; Organizers Looking to Local Community for Input
One thing we Wyomingites pride ourselves on is getting stuff done that needs doing. The Rec Center projects in Lander, the Splash Pad Project in Riverton, the Skate Park in Riverton and countless other projects in Fremont County get rolling because somebody says, “Ok, I’ll get the ball rolling.” Thanks to Cory Rota, a Riverton resident with a young family, a group of individuals in Riverton have begun to organize around the development of a Recreation Center in Riverton.
Cory decided to jump in feet first after he noticed the number of vacant businesses on Riverton’s Federal Boulevard. “Safeway’s closing was one of my big kick starters,” he told County 10.
“You see all these large buildings that are just vacant, and it’s like, well, everybody’s leaving and nobody’s doing anything about it, so I think the best bet is for, you know, somebody to do it, so, why not me? You know, at least be the guy to get the conversation started.”
Rota moved to Riverton, from Michigan, in 2003, during his Sophomore year of High School. He explained how his experiences in Riverton have affected his decision to get involved now, saying, “In High School, I was kind of a problematic kid, I was on probation all the time and I was one that saw that there wasn’t much to do. There are facilities, but access can be pretty limited, you know, but I can’t really blame it on that, necessarily. Now, I’ve got three little girls of my own, so I just hate to see nothing being done for them.”
So, in true #wyostrong fashion. Cory did something he felt needed doing.
“Everybody talks about it, but nobody’s doing anything, so I’m going to go ahead and get the ball rolling,” said Rota. “I put together a little business plan, of sorts, just some things I think we could do to keep a cash revenue and some of the things I think we need to focus on when putting a rec center up, to keep it viable and maintain retention and stuff like that.”
“So, I had an initial meeting,” Rota explained. “I invited about ten people to this meeting I had on November 6th, and, well, a couple of them got excited and went straight to Facebook with it. So, we had a swarm of people and we ended up having about 35 people at the meeting. We had a couple of City Council Members, we had the president of the Hockey Association, a couple of the Soccer Board Members, and same with Babe Ruth Baseball. We didn’t talk numbers or anything, I don’t have anything like that because I really want to see what Riverton thinks we need and want.”
The group put together a survey to gather community input regarding what might go into a future Rec Center. The survey will be live for 2 – 3 weeks and can be taken here.
Current State of Development
Feedback from the survey will then be compiled and then “we’ll turn that into a poll and we’ll have everybody vote amongst those things and see what we get” Rota said.
According to Rota, there have been about 70 people respond to the survey so far (as of early the week of November 6th, 2017). Again, those vested in a Recreation Center in Riverton can take the survey at this link.
“It’s going to take a whole lot more than 70 people to keep a rec center in the works if people are going to use it. So, our next step is, December 4th, we’re going to have a meeting. We’re going to try to get all the board members of all the different local sports up there, we want to get Riverton Rec up there, and maybe IDEA, Inc,” said Rota.
Rota continued, “a lot of times, there are problems that people can’t fix because they don’t even know that they’re going on. You know, you can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken, and maybe we’re not looking at it from a perspective that somebody else has got that might be what we need to make it happen. “There’s no such thing as a bad idea, so I encourage everybody to come to the meetings, voice their opinion’s in one way or another, and let us know what they’d like to see. We want to do it for Riverton, I mean, everybody likes to talk about it, so, let’s do it, you know. Where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Aaand here it is again: To take the survey, click here.
City Council Members Respond to the Prospect of a Rec Center in Riverton
During a council report at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, Councilman Mike Bailey mentioned the meeting that Rota put together, stating, “Last night, there was a meeting of a group of people in Riverton that are looking at ways to possibly get a rec center. There were probably 25-30 people at the meeting, including Councilman Lance Goede and I, and we just bounced around a lot of different ideas and talked about all the things that we may need. We talked about getting some of the recreational groups together to get a common plan. The baseball, the hockey, the soccer, you know, all the different groups that do things in the communities to assess where our community’s needs are and try to move forward with something like that. There will be more information to come, it’s purely sort of a beginning, community first, just some local folks that had an idea and invited a bunch of people to come.”
Councilman Lance Goede also mentioned Monday’s meeting, stating, “It was great to hear the community kind of coming together and just sharing different ideas. You know, I kind of thought of this as similar to the splash pad, similar to the skate park, when community members come together and really start brainstorming and being committed to finding a solution, a lot of things can happen. So, I hope that this is another one of those types of efforts, that can do something in our community that can help not only Riverton but, the county as a whole.”
Lars Baker, Mayor of the City of Riverton, said of the rec center, “I’ve gotten several comments recently, about the rec center and the potential for that. And, so, it’s probably time that we ran that back around again. We tried, about ten years ago, and that rec center proposal called for a capital facilities sales tax, and that got funked pretty solidly. But, not only did we talk about a rec center, but we were going to overhaul the Fair Grounds and build an Assisted Living Center at the same time, so I think that those three issues kind of ran up against each other. So, it may be appropriate to try to move toward that again to see if we could build some support for a rec center.”
Rota invites the community to attend the groups next meeting, stating, “We’re having a meeting on December 4th at 6:30 at City Hall. They’re always open to the public, we want this to be for the public and by the public, it’s a recreation center that we are going to use and the best way for anybody to know what your thoughts are is for you to tell them, so, come up there and let everybody know what you think, especially if you see a problem.”