Parks’ master plan nears end |

Parks’ master plan nears end

Rita Valentine Park up for public discussion Wednesday

Brandon Gee

The city will host a public discussion of conceptual plans for Rita Valentine Park on Wednesday evening at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The 75-acre park is between Anglers Drive and Hilltop Parkway.

The future of all Steamboat Springs parks – and one in particular – will be up for a public debate this week at a meeting of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

Consultants GreenPlay LLC and Design Concepts will present short-, medium- and long-term recommendations for the Parks and Recreation Master Plan being developed by the city. City officials are encouraging anyone interested to attend the meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center to participate in the discussion.

“This is a great opportunity to participate in charting the course for the future of your community,” said Director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Chris Wilson.

Wilson said he has seen the consultants’ recommendations in draft form, but he declined to say what they are until they are officially unveiled Wednesday night. The recommendations are likely to relate to more general “areas of focus” identified by GreenPlay at a previous meeting in August. Those areas included defining core services, implementing a cost recovery policy, park and maintenance standards, Yampa River access and program development.

Wilson said the recommendations would be a “solid foundation” for completion of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which is on track for adoption by the city and Routt County next year. Wilson said the master plan would serve as a “companion document” to the recently adopted Open Space and Trails Master Plan. Wilson said the plans, which will be updated periodically, would identify clear action items and who is responsible for carrying them forward.

“It’s one of those plans that’s a living document,” Wilson said. “We : will be relying on these documents as they move forward in the future.”

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After discussion of the master plan Wednesday, the city will host a public discussion of conceptual plans for Rita Valentine Park. The 75-acre park is between Anglers Drive and Hilltop Parkway.

“It’s probably the last, largest piece of undeveloped city property within the city limits,” recreation supervisor Ernie Jenkins said.

Wilson said it’s also the only unplanned piece of parkland owned by the city. In addition to suggestions for developing the park, Wilson said “you bet” there will be people whose preference will be to keep it the way it is.

“Nothing requires that it be developed,” Wilson said. “That’s valid and will be part of the discussion. : Nothing’s out of bounds in conceptual planning. It’s not a construction plan. It’s not a design plan. Nothing’s decided. It’s wide open.”

Wilson said Rita Valentine Park traditionally has seen biking, hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as illegal snowmobiling and paintball games. The park also is one of two in a test program to allow dogs to play off-leash during specific hours on limited days each week.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said the park has been identified as one potential location for a new Steamboat Skate Park to complement a smaller one at Howelsen Hill. The city plans to budget about $300,000 for the skate park in 2009 – $200,000 of which would be raised privately – but DuBord said the final cost of the park likely would be twice that amount.

“That doesn’t include parking or access : that might have to be built to accommodate it,” she said.

For more information about Wednesday’s meetings, call Wilson at 879-4300.

– To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

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