Our view: Join the conversation | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Join the conversation

At issue

The city is seeking public input on plans to develop a riverside pocket park on Yampa Street

Our view

We envision a dynamic public gathering space along the river, and we encourage community members to contact the city with their ideas for Workman Park

Last week, members of the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission were quizzed by city officials on their ideas for a new pocket park on Yampa Street. Once again, we were encouraged to see the city reaching out to members of the community to get their input on a proposed project before it begins.

In this case, Steamboat city leaders are seeking information on what amenities the public would like to see developed on property the city purchased for just over $600,000 this winter. The money used to buy the Workman property came from accommodations tax funds that voters approved for such a use in November 2013.

Bids to remove the century-old home that now sits on the property are being weighed, and now the city is moving to the next phase of the project, which involves creating a clear vision for development of a new public space along the Yampa River.

We have supported the city’s plan to convert the property into a riverside park from the time the project was first announced. In our view, the land purchase preserves open space, protects public access to the river and provides a prime place for people to gather.

Parks and recreation commission members offered a range of ideas for the proposed park, which will be developed on the .14-acre parcel that boasts 125 feet of river frontage. Their ideas included an interactive art exhibit, a fire pit and a place where food carts could be clustered. Another commission member said the park could serve as a gateway to a new promenade along the river.

Looking back on plans that were drawn up for the proposed Yampa River Promenade, the park space was also envisioned by planners as a site for a small ice rink in the winter and a splash pool in the summer.

Because the Workman property is adjacent to the existing Ski Town Lions Club park and close to the Fifth Street bridge at the east end of Yampa Street, we think there is potential to create a public gathering spot that will help draw people downtown.

The centrally located park can serve to better connect the attractions at Howelsen Hill with the restaurants and entertainment offered along Yampa Street and Lincoln Avenue. An expanded green space at that location also increases public access to the Yampa River — one of Steamboat’s greatest natural assets.

We envision a small stage at the park where musicians can perform — a simple venue perfect for outdoor plays or small festivals that would function like the bigger stage at Gondola Square. MainStreet Steamboat Springs could help coordinate events at the new park that could include live music in conjunction with the Farmers Market on Saturday or outdoor art installations for Friday Art Walk.

As summertime in the Yampa Valley approaches, it’s the perfect time to imagine days spent outside by the river and nights spent enjoying Steamboat’s downtown dining and nightlife. We encourage community members to answer the city’s call for input on the Workman Park property and join the conversation. Contact the city with your ideas for the new park on Yampa Street and take the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s latest poll at SteamboatToday.com/polls, where we ask readers to weigh in on several options for the new park.

In our opinion, expanded park space along the river on Yampa Street provides the city with an opportunity to make an immediate impact on the energy and vibrancy of Yampa Street — helping to elevate the downtown experience by enticing visitors to linger longer in a place that combines natural beauty with high quality dining, music and shopping.

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