Howelsen Hill master plan draft recommends new indoor rec center, 2nd sheet of ice | SteamboatToday.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Howelsen Hill master plan draft recommends new indoor rec center, 2nd sheet of ice

The arrival of winter, and the efforts of snowmakers are quickly changing the appearance of Howelsen Hill for the season. The city is set to release the draft of a new master plan for the park that could drastically change the park. The plan calls for such improvements as a new indoor recreation center and a renovation of the Howelsen Hill Lodge.
John F. Russell

If you go

The draft of the master plan will be presented Wednesday night to Steamboat's Parks and Recreation Commission in Citizens Hall. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and public comment will be accepted.

Recommended improvements at a glance

• Trail improvements ($422,400)

• Completing the improvements in 2009 master plan for rodeo grounds ($4 million)

• Reconfigure sports fields to be multi-purpose ($718,000)

• Indoor recreation center ($16 million)

• Reconfigure outdoor tennis and sand volleyball courts to add capacity ($478,000)

• Renovation of Howelsen HIll Lodge ($6 million)

• Second sheet of outdoor covered ice with meeting rooms and concessions ($1.6 million)

• Parking improvements ($1.8 million)

Recommended improvements at a glance

• Trail improvements ($422,400)

• Completing the improvements in 2009 master plan for rodeo grounds ($4 million)

• Reconfigure sports fields to be multi-purpose ($718,000)



• Indoor recreation center ($16 million)

• Reconfigure outdoor tennis and sand volleyball courts to add capacity ($478,000)



• Renovation of Howelsen HIll Lodge ($6 million)

• Second sheet of outdoor covered ice with meeting rooms and concessions ($1.6 million)

• Parking improvements ($1.8 million)

— The city of Steamboat Springs on Wednesday night will present the draft of a $31.1 million master plan for Howelsen Hill that calls for such things as a new indoor recreation center, trail improvements and a second sheet of ice to skate on.

If adopted, the draft plan could for several years serve as a new guiding document for the city’s most historic and diverse park.

The plan is the result of months of meetings with park users and the public.

Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Director John Overstreet said the plan includes the improvements that garnered some of the most support during that planning process.

“We really wanted this to be a publicly driven document,” Overstreet said. “That was my goal.”

Overstreet now will look to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission on Wednesday for initial feedback on the plan and suggestions for a timeline on any improvements.

Before it becomes a guiding document, the plan would need to be approved by the commission and the Steamboat Springs City Council.

After that, funding would have to be secured.

“This is not going to happen overnight,” Overstreet said. “This is going to be a 10- to 20-year plan.”

Overstreet is hoping the commission also can start to discuss possible ways of funding the master plan.

In addition to the rec center, trail improvements and the new ice, other major improvements called for in the draft plan include renovating Howelsen Hill Lodge into a more “public friendly” facility with dining, adding a terrain park and improving snowmaking at the ski hill, reconfiguring the sports fields to make them more multi-use, reconfiguring the outdoor tennis and sand volleyball courts to increase capacity, and improving the parking lots.

The current draft also recommends $4 million worth of improvements for the rodeo grounds.

The indoor rec center, envisioned to be 50,000 square feet with a climbing wall, teen center, indoor track and indoor courts, accounts for about half of the total cost of the master plan.

The annual operating costs for all of the improvements is estimated to total $3.3 million.

Overstreet and the parks department embarked on the master plan in April after hearing a flurry of ideas for the park’s future ranging from zip lines to the expansion of the ice arena.

A series of public meetings then were held to help shape the master plan, and nearly 600 respondents participated in a public survey.

If there was a big consensus from the survey questions and the attached 180 additional comments the city received, it was that the people who took the survey care about the future of the park and overwhelmingly think it is well maintained, safe and worthy of future improvements.

But a majority also thought the park’s diverse portfolio of amenities is outdated.

Overstreet said the master plan would be a fluid document, meaning recommendations could be acted upon based on funding opportunities.

He said the plan also would help the city qualify for additional grant funding for improvements.

For a 161-acre park that already relies heavily on a subsidy from the city, the funding piece is poised to be a big challenge.

The last master plan for the entire Howelsen Hill park was adopted in 1990, Overstreet said.

Separate plans for the ballfields and the rodeo grounds were done in 2004 and 2009, respectively.

Overstreet said a previous draft of a Howelsen master plan was made sometime in the 2000s, but it wasn’t adopted.

The latest master plan was done almost completely in house by the city’s parks and recreation staff.

While some of the city’s master plans, including ones for parcels like Rita Valentine Park and Yampa Street, have collected dust on shelves or been abandoned throughout the years, Overstreet said he’s hopeful the one for Howelsen can move forward with the help of an energetic Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I think you can tell from the parks and rec commission that they really want to see some momentum for parks and rec,” Overstreet said. “Once they get this plan and it is accepted or adopted, I would love for them to lead the charge on what things should happen, including some funding strategies and some partnerships. I get the sense they will not let this one sit on the shelf. They are excited, which is really awesome.”

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


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User