Oak Creek’s recreation profile improved by LiveWell Northwest Colorado over the years | SteamboatToday.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Oak Creek’s recreation profile improved by LiveWell Northwest Colorado over the years

Series of small LiveWell grants lead to large, lasting improvements in Oak Creek

About this story:

After nearly six years, the impact of LiveWell Northwest Colorado’s investment in local communities is becoming clear.

As the initiative sunsets and funding disappears in the coming years, organizers must decide how to use the remaining money to leave a lasting impression on area residents, promoting healthy eating and active living for decades to come.

This is the first in a three-part series looking at the influence LiveWell has had in Routt County.

Future stories will focus on LiveWell's involvement in the Northwest Colorado Food Coalition and its impact on local schools.

— Formed in 2009 as a way to disperse the funds of the state’s LiveWell organization locally, LiveWell Northwest Colorado quickly got behind a number of programs to support healthy eating and active lifestyles, including several in Oak Creek.

About this story:

After nearly six years, the impact of LiveWell Northwest Colorado’s investment in local communities is becoming clear.

As the initiative sunsets and funding disappears in the coming years, organizers must decide how to use the remaining money to leave a lasting impression on area residents, promoting healthy eating and active living for decades to come.



This is the first in a three-part series looking at the influence LiveWell has had in Routt County.

Future stories will focus on LiveWell’s involvement in the Northwest Colorado Food Coalition and its impact on local schools.



Since that time, grants from LiveWell, matching funding and support from other organizations has transformed the town’s recreation profile, bringing new parks and trails, completing projects on two recreation master plans, purchasing a ski and snowshoe trail groomer and helping to begin summer and after-school activity programs in the Soroco School District.

“These projects wouldn’t have happened without LiveWell and Barb,” said Mary Alice Page-Allen, Oak Creek town administrator and clerk.

Page-Allen is referring to Barb Parnell, community coordinator for LiveWell Northwest Colorado and lead grant writer who worked with Page-Allen to secure matching funds for many of the town’s projects.

“[LiveWell] really provided a lot of the spearheading,” Page-Allen said. “These things don’t happen unless someone’s willing to take the lead.”

Parnell credits the South Routt community for the success of so many of the projects of LiveWell and its partners.

“It’s a beautiful story of the community coming together,” Parnell said.

The projects in Oak Creek include the 2011 creation of a bike pump track on land that used to house water-settling ponds.

“It was overgrown and old and had this metal fence, and now it’s a pump track park,” Oak Creek Mayor Nikki Knoebel said.

The park was built with the help of volunteers and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and was funded through a grant from LiveWell and additional funds from Great Outdoors Colorado.

Decker Park in town also received a makeover and new playground equipment, thanks to grants from Great Outdoors Colorado and the Colorado Health Foundation.

LiveWell granted $6,000 for a snow groomer in early 2011, which was used to first create trails through the town’s Decker Park and later on property owned by Rossi Ranches on the southern edge of town. Residents can use a selection of donated equipment, housed in a shed at the trailhead, which is accessed from a gate at the end of Beal Avenue.

“[The snow groomer] didn’t cost a lot of money, but it ended up having a huge impact,” said Knoebel. “It has become a huge focus in the winter for our town.”

Another project utilized $17,000 in funding from LiveWell to create the first Oak Creek trail system, with trails at Decker Park and the pump track park and the Noon-Whistle and Garden Street trails.

“We actually have a trail system in town at this point. The trails will be there forever,” Page-Allen said.

Each of the projects aims to increase the recreational opportunities in the area, leading to a community that exercises more and is healthier, both major goals of LiveWell.

Since 2009, LiveWell has granted about $50,000 to projects in South Routt and helped the community secure thousands more in additional grant money.

“The partnership has been great,” Knoebel said. “We’ve made little steps every year.”

Knoebel said the projects have allowed residents to access more recreational opportunities without having to drive into Steamboat.

“We’ve been able to improve so many things,” she said.

Looking ahead, LiveWell funding will be used for signage on the new trails and summer additions to the town’s ice rink, such as skateboarding features, Page-Allen said.

Although LiveWell’s funding and programming will sunset in 2017, the community investment has left its mark in Oak Creek, Page-Allen said.

“There’s a lasting legacy,” she said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow


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.

 

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