Steamboat council member hosting town hall Friday to discuss Howelsen Hill’s future |

Steamboat council member hosting town hall Friday to discuss Howelsen Hill’s future

Amy Hirt grabs a hold of the poma lift at Howelsen Hill with Nora fast asleep on her back during Ski Free Sunday on March 13, 2022. City officials are exploring the logistics of a proposal from Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club that would add a new strength and conditioning facility at Howelsen Hill.
Eli Pace/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Steamboat Springs City Council member Michael Buccino is holding a town hall session on Friday, Jan. 27, with users of Howelsen Hill, an effort that he hopes will help start discussions about the future of the city’s flagship park.

Buccino said he has reached out to several of the park’s main users — rodeo, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, hockey, free summer concert series and others — who would present their goals for future use of the park in addition to how they have used it historically.

“I wanted to have an open discussion back and forth about the future of Howelsen Hill,” Buccino said. “From this, I want a stakeholder group that’s going to get together more often.”

Earlier this month, council decided not to delay with planning for the future at Howelsen, directing staff to get parking and traffic studies started and indicating a willingness to add staff capacity to facilitate conversations. Buccino said his effort is independent from this, but hopes it would eventually add to it.

Steamboat Public Works Director Jon Snyder said the parking and traffic studies would get going May 1 and collect data for a full year. That could then be used to decide where there may be the capacity to expand usage at the park or when facilities are being used to capacity.

Buccino’s town hall will start with a presentation about the history and cultural significance of the park from the Tread of Pioneers Museum, he said.

“How do we maintain the cultural history and not just the physical history,” Buccino said.

Buccino said there may need to be some difficult decisions coming at Howelsen and that he wanted users to be in on the conversation now. For example, accommodating future uses may require removing one of the softball fields, and he wants those users in on the discussion now.

Buccino is in the final year of his term on council, though he could opt to run for another 4-year stint in November. He said he hasn’t decided if he would run again, but that he wanted to be part of the discussion about Howelsen Hill’s future regardless of whether he remained on council.

The town hall will start at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at Steamboat Christian Center and is open to anyone who has an interest in the future of Howelsen. Buccino said he hoped between 150 and 200 people would attend, but there is room for about 400. The town hall will also be streamed and available for future viewing on YouTube.

“Let’s talk about an amphitheater, let’s talk about parking, let’s talk about ball fields,” he said. “What’s the best use of the limited resources we have?”

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