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Bear River goes to council

Christine Metz

— The master plan for a proposed park in the city’s old sewage lagoon will come before the City Council on Tuesday night.

The council will look at a recommendation on what should go on the Bear River Parcel, an 18-acre site west of town, but it will not have any information on how much the park could cost or how it will be funded.

Last fall, community members gave input on the proposed park in a series of public meetings. In December, the Parks and Recreation Commission approved a plan that would allow for a possible river meander and incorporate other recreational activities.

The commission’s recommendation includes a 17,000 square-foot skatepark, a nine-hole Frisbee golf course, a picnic area, a 40-space parking lot, two basketball courts and a children’s playground.

Commissioners said they did not have the purview to recommend changing the course of the river, a $200,000 project, but they did not want to take away the option. The option they approved was without a meander, but left room for it in the plan.

Two alternatives were presented to the commission in December. The one it is recommending has a slightly smaller informal playing field, and the other option proposed 6.15 acres of undisturbed wetlands.

City officials have not discussed how to fund the proposed park, said Chris Wilson, the director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services.

“At this point in time, the city hasn’t budgeted any capital money for park development. It has not talked about decommissioning the sewer lagoons,” Wilson said. “All of those things are kind of the next step if the City Council approves the master plan as presented.”

Wilson does not know how much the proposed park plan could cost. City Public Works Director Jim Weber said the cost of decommissioning the three sewer lagoons could vary on how active the sewage is. The lagoon is still being used on occasion to treat excess sewage, but was largely replaced by the wastewater treatment plant.

“(Decommissioning) is not high on the priority list of infrastructure. We have other infrastructure needs and priorities,” Weber said.

Creating a master plan for the proposed park was sparked by a $16,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. The city, which contributed $26,000 to the process, had until the end of 2004 to present a master plan to the Parks and Recreation Commission. The grant allowed the city to hire a consultant, Mountain West Design Group LLC, to go through the planning process.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com


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