Parks and rec commission endorses new master plan for Bear River Park |

Parks and rec commission endorses new master plan for Bear River Park

The draft master plan for Bear River Park calls for volleyball and basketball courts and an expansion of the existing skate and bike parks.

The Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission has endorsed a plan for Bear River Park that includes nearly $2.5 million of potential upgrades ranging from new sand volleyball courts to an expansion of the existing skate and bike parks.

The master plan calls for the park on the west side of the city to become a new place for residents and visitors to gather for barbecues and take walks on a nature trail along the Yampa River.

Other amenities in the plan include a pavilion, horsehoe throwing pits, a river access point that can accommodate trailers, playground structures and basketball goals.

While commissioners praised the plan, they also were quick to point out there is no guarantee the vision will be funded.

The city’s Parks and Community Services Department will propose the city fund design of the park improvements next year, with funding for a first phase coming in 2018.

But it will be up to the city’s management team, and then the City Council, to decide whether the park improvements make the cut in the city’s six-year capital improvement program.

The planners behind the vision acknowledged funding will be an issue.

Most residents and community members who were polled about funding sources said the money should come from grants or the city’s general fund.

“Unfortunately, these two funding sources are inadequate to finance a significant park project such as this one,” the planners wrote in the visioning document for the park. “Implementation of Bear River Park, even with the park phasing … will require additional non-governmental funding sources.”

Those options include such things as private donations, public-private partnerships and fundraising efforts with nonprofits.

The master plan for Bear River Park was put together by Oxbow Design Consultants and the National Park Service with assistance from the city.

The park plan calls for the construction of new amenities in three phases.

Several members of the skateboarding community attended a public hearing on Wednesday and advocated for upgrades to the skate park to come in an earlier phase of the project.

The master plan will soon go before the Steamboat Springs City Council for possible approval.

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

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