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Ball fields may be added to Dry Creek

Tamera Manzanares

— A plan for two new soccer fields in Hayden could be revised to include at least two new softball fields.

Town Manager Russ Martin wants the Town Board on Thursday to consider redesigning the plan for the Dry Creek Park Soccer Field and Trail, slated for an area south of the Routt County Fairgrounds, before construction begins this fall.

Grants available for the project will only cover the cost of developing one soccer field and a trail, but a new plan would allow the town to build more athletic fields later, as funds become available.

“Planning for that now is the only way to make that happen in the future,” Martin said.

The original plan for two soccer fields and half a baseball field was approved in 2001, but grant money wasn’t available for the project until late 2003.

The board will discuss two alternative plans developed from talks with the Steamboat Springs and Craig recreation departments.

One plan, similar to the layout of Ski Town Park in Steamboat, would allow for two softball fields and two soccer fields. The other design would have two softball fields and three soccer fields.

An expanded park could help accommodate Triple Crown softball activity in Hayden, depending on whether the organization renews its contract with the town after next year, Martin said.

“It would probably be used more by locals than anyone else,” he added.

Though the first soccer field should be complete this fall, it won’t be ready for use until 2006 when the turf will be established.

Also Thursday, the board will determine whether to purchase a vehicle-based meter-reading device, which sends out a signal that reads most utility meters from one spot in town.

The hand-held devices the town now uses require public works employees to drive by every household to read the meters. The vehicle-based unit would save the town about $6,000 in personnel and vehicle expenses in one year, based on a cost analysis prepared by town staff.

The town must decide whether to purchase the vehicle-based device now because the manufacturer is offering it at less than half its usual cost of $50,800 because of the town’s purchase of about 600 new meters.

“The savings won’t be for two years. It’s just the initial cost that is sometimes scary to people,” Martin said.

— To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com.


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