New Steamboat pickleball facility seeks phased approach so construction can begin

A rendering of a fully finished new pickleball facility at 2500 Pine Grove Road in Steamboat Springs. l Court Sports for Life/Courtesy image

Court Sports for Life’s pursuit to quickly begin construction on a new local pickleball facility was well supported Tuesday during a Steamboat Springs City Council meeting.

In a presentation to City Council, Loretta Conway, representing the foundation, asked for the city’s approval to split the project into two phases. Doing so, she said, would allow construction to begin in May 2022 at the current Steamboat Tennis and Pickleball Center, located at 2500 Pine Grove Road. Conway said if all goes well, Phase I could be completed in October 2022.

An agreement reached in 2020 between the city and Court Sports for Life required the overall project to have 70% of its funding by Dec. 31 to begin construction. If the city agrees to split the project into two phases, the organization would need to possess only 70% of funding for the first phase.

Phase one would include all outdoor amenities and upgrades, such as new tennis and pickleball courts, a parking area and green space. The courts would be enclosed, and office space would be created during the second phase.

Phase one would include all outdoor amenities and upgrades, such as new tennis and pickleball courts, a parking area and green space.
Court Sports for Life/Courtesy image

Conway said the group has over $2 million, enough to start the first phase, and anticipates future donations.

Council member Heather Sloop signaled concern with the foundation moving forward on the first phase then possibly not having enough to finish the project.

“All of a sudden, we have a big dirt pile where pickleball courts were supposed to be, and we’re still stuck in this position?” Sloop said.

Conway was confident that wouldn’t be the case.

“We have 200 donors, and some of them are very large donors,” Conway said.

During public comment, several community members urged council to approve the request.

“We have the utmost confidence that Bill (Conway), Loretta and the board members of Court Sports for Life will see this project through and make the city proud,” said Win Dermody, a 25-year resident of Steamboat.

Council agreed to hold an executive session Dec. 13 to review specific negotiations for the phased approach.

Still, council member Michael Buccino expressed uncertainty over the city’s role in the project.

“The city is getting a whole lot from this deal, and when we go into this next phase, I would like to see if there’s any way that the city can make it easier on some of the infrastructure,” Buccino said. “Where’s the public-private partnership in this? What are we bringing to the table in the sense of that ongoing maintenance?”

Council President Robin Crossan asked Buccino to reserve his comments for executive session.

While in support of the project, council member Dakotah McGinlay also wanted to ensure it would align with the city’s environmental goals.

“If we were to negotiate some terms, I would like to see some plans for how they’re going to align with the climate action plan,” she said.

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