Council approves Bear River Park plan, but funding still in question
The Steamboat Springs City Council has given its blessing to a nearly $3 million vision for one of the city’s last developable parks on the west end of town.
But don’t ask council members to fund that vision for Bear River Park anytime soon.
Though it adopted the plan, the council made it clear the city currently lacks the funding to execute it.
Some council members suggested private fundraising and partnerships would be needed to add the sand volleyball courts, trails, and boat ramp the plan calls for.
The plan itself includes a section dedicated to spelling out how the city doesn’t have adequate funding to make it happen.
Councilman Scott Ford was so concerned about setting an expectation that the master plan would be funded, he broke with his fellow council members and voted against adoption.
“We all know the reality of our fiscal situation. We cannot afford to do this now or in the future,” Ford said. “There is going to be a big enough challenge with the expenses associated with core services.”
The master plan for Bear River Park calls for new park amenities to be constructed in phases.
The first phase calls for such amenities as additional parking, the volleyball courts, a pavilion and a multi-use field.
The plan also calls for the expansion of the existing bike and skateboard parks.
Asked if there were any private groups that might be interested in fundraising for the park, Parks and Community Services Director John Overstreet said the city has already received some bites from prospective donors.
He said Volleyball of the Rockies, a Denver-based volleyball league, has expressed interest in contributing to the construction of the sand volleyball courts.
Overstreet added Friends of the Yampa might also be a potential partner in the trailer-accessible boat ramp proposed for the park.
The master plan for Bear River Park was put together with community input gathered through a series of public meetings.
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After her husband David landed a job as an emergency room physician at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center this fall, Denise Richter had visions of finding a small ranch to live on near Steamboat Springs.