Big week for parks department |

Big week for parks department

Council to address master plans, budget shortfalls at work session today

Brandon Gee
Karl Fredell, ski area mechanic, and Chelsea Yepello operate the Poma lift at Howelsen Hill on Monday afternoon. The city-owned ski area and other city parks and rec services will be discussed tonight by the Steamboat Springs City Council.
John F. Russell


5 p.m. Joint meeting with the Parks and Recreation Commission; Capital Improvements Program long-term planning; City Council strategic goals and values; Prioritization listing of city services

7 p.m. Public comment

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information

— The future of Steamboat Springs’ beloved parks and recreation offerings will be the main point of discussion at today’s meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council.

Council will hold a joint meeting tonight with the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission for a discussion that likely will cover topics including drafts of a Yampa River Structural Master Plan and a Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

In a tough budget climate, the future of programs offered by the Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department – and the fees charged for those services – also is an issue that officials say may be broached.

Interim City Manager Wendy DuBord said tonight’s meeting is a good one to attend for those who wish to participate in the discussion.

“We only do this about once a year, if that,” DuBord said of face-to-face meetings between the commission and council. “The goal is to kind of check in with City Council and make sure their mission statement, goals and objectives are still consistent with what City Council has appointed them to do.”

Chris Wilson, the department’s director, said the commission is looking for a “30,000-foot philosophy from City Council.”

“It’s going to be a big night for the Parks and Recreation Commission,” Wilson said. “It’s really a chance for them to get together and talk about philosophy.”

In its draft form, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan includes about 20 pages of recommendations and strategies including establishing park maintenance standards, pursuing alternative funding sources, strengthening recreation opportunities and considering outsourcing parks and recreation services.

“It’s getting ready for when the document will come to council” for adoption, Wilson said.

The Yampa River Structural Master Plan addresses the condition of natural systems and manmade structures on the town stretch of the Yampa River.

As the city prepares to engage in a wholesale prioritization of city services, DuBord said council also may provide direction on the future of the department’s services, and the amount of city subsidy that is acceptable to run them. In the midst of a global economic downturn and projected decreases in city revenue sources – principally sales tax – council will use the ranked list of services it plans to create early next year to make budget cuts, if necessary.

“If we all take a pragmatic view of what the mandated programs are and what the desired areas are, we’ll work through it as a community,” Wilson said.

Also on today’s agenda is a discussion of the city’s five-year Capital Improvements Plan.

“We’re presenting a very large plan that is totally dependent on revenue sources to fund it,” DuBord said. “We’re looking to see if there’s something we have missed that council would like to see that isn’t in the five-year plan or if there is something that council thinks is appropriate for the five-year plan.”

Copies of the two master plans can be viewed at the city’s Web site, Tonight’s City Council meeting is at 5 p.m. The Parks and Recreation Commission also meets at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. For more information, call Wilson at 879-4300.

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