Our view: We’re diggin’ Steamboat Digs Dogs’ approach
Steamboat Digs Dogs and Steamboat Springs City Council came to an agreement last week to work toward creating a fenced dog park at Rita Valentine Park. The arrangement comes after years of effort by the local volunteer organization, which was formed in 2016 to explore ways to make Steamboat more dog friendly.
Under the arrangement, the city will partner with Steamboat Digs Dog to pursue grants to fund improvements at the park, and it will be the nonprofit’s task to secure funding for the project and maintain the dog-related facilities at the park. This work will include snow removal around a future entry gate and making sure dog waste is property disposed of.
In turn, the city will pay for water and trash removal at the park and maintain the fencing, parking lot and future bathrooms. As Parks and Recreation Director Angela Cosby said, a fenced dog park will take care of the dogs and wildlife as well, and it will also provide a great place for dog owners to recreate together.
This agreement is a model of collaboration, and in our opinion, Steamboat Digs Dogs has gone about pursuing its mission in a way that should become a template for other groups to follow as they attempt to advance their causes. It should also be noted that the group worked closely with the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, city staff and the council to get this far.
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Steamboat Digs Dogs has been successful because it chose to compromise and collaborate with city officials on a number of fronts and didn’t dig its heels in and go on the defensive when things didn’t go its way.
For example, Steamboat Digs Dogs lobbied the council to allow Blackmer Drive to continue to be included in the off-leash trial in spite of some reported dog-wildlife conflicts, but the council opted to support the Parks and Recreation Commission’s recommendation that Blackmer be excluded.
The organization accepted the city’s decision and responded by stating it would continue its efforts to educate dog owners about how to recreate responsibility with their dog in public places. There was no line drawn in the sand, and Steamboat Digs Dogs and the city were able to move forward together.
Instead, the group rolled up its sleeves and worked to become part of the solution — picking up dog poop, hitting the trails to help educate the public about the city’s leash laws and finding a way to reconcile differing views and opinions.
At issue: Steamboat Digs Dogs has successfully negotiated an agreement with Steamboat Springs City Council to create a fenced dog park at Rita Valentine Park.
Our View: We admire the nonprofit’s approach to getting things done through compromise and collaboration.
- Logan Molen, publisher
- Lisa Schlichtman, editor
- Robin Stone, community representative
- Steve Hofman, community representative
A lot of work remains to be done to make the fenced dog park a reality, but we believe Steamboat Digs Dogs has the tenacity to get the job done. The group has also been open to completing the project in phases rather than expecting the city or a granting agency to deliver a large chunk of funding at one time.
Right now, Steamboat Digs Dog is working to convert an endowed fund into a capital fund to secure matching grant money for improvements, and then once the project is completed, the remaining money will be placed into an endowed fund to help maintain the park.
It sounds like a great plan to us, and we hope Steamboat’s dog lovers and other civic-minded individuals will consider contributing to the campaign. Visit yvcf.org/steamboatdigsdogs.org for more information.
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