Dog group to unveil 3 concepts for Rita Valentine Park improvements | SteamboatToday.com
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Dog group to unveil 3 concepts for Rita Valentine Park improvements

Scott Franz
John Waldman plays a game of fetch with Luna on Tuesday morning in Rita Valentine Park. Before it became a cherished piece of open space, the 40 acres that make up the park originally was going to be part of a subdivision.
Scott Franz

If you go

• What: Steamboat Digs Dogs Rita Valentine Park open house

• When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, 2017

•Where: Steamboat Grand, 2300 Mount Werner Circle

— A 40-space parking area, benches, trees, a water source and a separate play area for small dogs are among the improvements a canine advocacy group is proposing to add to Rita Valentine Park.

If you go

• What: Steamboat Digs Dogs Rita Valentine Park open house

• When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, 2017

•Where: Steamboat Grand, 2300 Mount Werner Circle

But when three latest concepts for park improvements are unveiled to the public at an open house at the Steamboat Grand on Wednesday evening, it might be the proposed fence around the park that gets people talking.

“To fence or not to fence is probably going to be the issue here,” Steamboat Digs Dogs spokeswoman Kathy Connell said Monday.

Connell said she herself was initially opposed to the idea of adding a fence around an open space dog park, but she has started to come around to the idea and sees value in it.

Park planners think a fence could reduce conflicts between off-leash dogs, wildlife and other trail users such as cyclists in the area.

They also claim a fence could be made to blend in and disappear in places by using wooden posts and wire meshing.

On the other hand, park planners have heard from some neighbors who would rather not see a fence erected.

Steamboat Digs Dogs has been reaching out to immediate neighbors of the park, as well as other user groups such as cyclists, for their thoughts on all aspects of the potential improvement project.

They also have a high-profile backer in Don Valentine, who has fiercely defended the park that bears his late wife’s name from development proposals ranging from a new police station to a new school.

The three dog park concepts were put together with public input.

One concept includes an additional 10-space parking area off of Hilltop Parkway, across the park from the existing entrance and parking area on Anglers Drive.

Another concept does not include a perimeter fence but does include a smaller fenced-in area.

The park planners do not expect the city to pitch in for the improvements, so private fundraising efforts are underway.

The grassroots efforts to improve the park for canines now includes a former city planner and a professional park planner.

The team is also cognizant of some news coming from Evergreen, where a popular dog park was recently closed because of excessive doggy doo doo that wasn’t cleaned up.

To try to bag that issue here, the group is proposing to include educational, and humorous, signage that would help to spur pet owners to be responsible and pick up after their dogs.

A dog waste composting program is also being explored.

The open house event is open to the community, and free parking is available across the street from the Steamboat Grand, 2300 Mount Werner Circle.

Contact Connell at 970-846-3746 or visit steamboatdigsdogs.org for more information.

The changes to the park would ultimately have to be approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10


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