City presents plan for new riverfront park on Yampa Street
Steamboat Springs — The preliminary plan for the new Workman Park on Yampa Street calls for the creation of new water features for children to play in near the Yampa River and an accessible path that will allow visitors to get right up to river’s edge.
The park is replacing a century-old homesite the city purchased earlier this year on the river.
After the home is removed, the park will ultimately become one piece in a new downtown promenade that is scheduled to be constructed beginning next year.
One of the biggest and most visible changes at the Workman property will be replacement of the culvert and concrete walls around the confluence of Butcherknife Creek and the Yampa.
The concrete walls will be replaced with riverbank and rock terraces.
City staff is exploring the idea of diverting some water from the creek into the terraces to create water features.
At street level, much of the park will feature an open lawn with trees.
Plans for the park were shaped with input from several community members who have attended recent meetings and an open house of the park site in May.
Ideas ranged from a food cart hub to a space for interactive art.
A citizens committee reviewed the ideas and came up with the recommended plan.
“It’s important to remember this park is part of a larger vision for Yampa Street,” Planning Director Tyler Gibbs said. “This is not only an extension of Lions Park, but really considered part of the whole promenade experience. We were very excited (to see Tuesday night) that council voted to move forward with the downtown investment plan that will fund the Yampa Street promenade.”
The Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission was impressed by what it saw in the Workman Park plans Wednesday night.
Commissioners also were supportive of the park being designed so as not to become a busy put in and take out place for tubers.
“I like it. I like it a lot,” Commissioner JoEllen Heydon said. “I like the passive use, and I think it will be well-received. It makes it really comfortable for kids to go down there and play.”
The commission’s enthusiasm for the park plan was somewhat tempered by budget realities for the proposed park.
Gibbs told commissioners that, to afford the full vision for the park, the city needs to find somewhere in the neighborhood of $340,000 more than it currently has in the project budget.
He said the city has already been approached by potential private donors.
The park’s creation is currently being funded by $900,000 in accommodations tax dollars voters approved spending on Yampa Street improvements.
The city has already spent $617,000 of those funds to purchase the property from the Workmans.
Due to funding limitations, the city has broken the project into two phases.
Phase one will create a functional, more basic park that includes the lawn and some of the terracing on the riverbank, but does not include the accessible path and the water features.
The additional work will depend upon additional funding.
Work to convert the homesite into a park is slated to begin later this summer after the century old Workman house takes a trip to South Routt County and becomes a home for a local artist.
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