Robert S. Ralston: Think long-range
December 3, 2006
I am a senior citizen, architect and 37-year city resident who, on occasion, agrees with the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s views. Your assessment of the community center is absolutely correct. The location is wrong and the cost is too high. Council needs to do some visionary long-range planning. Let’s start by saying no to the community center at its current proposed location. This site is for a Multi-Modal Transportation Center with lots of parking – the result of a good long-range plan.
A new community/recreation center should be built at Howelsen Hill Park, as the original Howelsen Hill Park Master Plan and later revisions foresaw. This is an ideal location – at the base of the ski jumps surrounding the existing amphitheater with an upper level facing out to the ski jumps with sun decks, restaurant and year-round facilities.
Howelsen Hill, a city-owned, multiple-acre parcel with convenient access, would be an excellent site for a senior center within a multi-use pavilion/recreation center. The original Howelsen Hill Park Master Plan provided a planned recreational complex encouraging intense multiplicity of use, including (but not limited to) a viable ski area and jumping facility capable of accommodating international competitions. The plan’s emphasis was placed on accommodating our permanent population (locals).
The envisioned recreation center was a complex that would include community meeting rooms, a teen center and handball/racquetball/basketball courts, among other enhancements. The plan called for a multi-use pavilion that would function as a large indoor sports/convention building with room for large community gatherings. Finally, an open courtyard and a path system linking the complex to the surrounding facilities were included. For water recreation uses, a private/public partnership with Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association can be a permanent answer. It can work at its present location with a long-range plan to include the post office site.
If our City Council had long-range vision and political will instead of being blind guides, our community could have integrated recreational amenities and economical use of funds instead of scattered buildings, duplication and exorbitant costs.
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Robert S. Ralston