Steamboat Parks and Recreation Commission tables Howelsen Hill master plan until January | SteamboatToday.com
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Steamboat Parks and Recreation Commission tables Howelsen Hill master plan until January

Howelsen Hill shines under the lights on a winter night. A draft of a new master plan for the park calls for such improvements as a new indoor recreation center and a renovation of the Howelsen Hill Lodge.
HowelsenHill

Recommended improvements at a glance

• Trail improvements ($422,400)

• Completing the improvements in 2009 master plan for rodeo grounds ($4 million)

• Reconfigure sports fields to be multi-purpose ($718,000)

• Indoor recreation center ($16 million)

• Reconfigure outdoor tennis and sand volleyball courts to add capacity ($478,000)

• Renovation of Howelsen HIll Lodge ($6 million)

• Second sheet of outdoor covered ice with meeting rooms and concessions ($1.6 million)

• Parking improvements ($1.8 million)

Recommended improvements at a glance

• Trail improvements ($422,400)

• Completing the improvements in 2009 master plan for rodeo grounds ($4 million)

• Reconfigure sports fields to be multi-purpose ($718,000)



• Indoor recreation center ($16 million)

• Reconfigure outdoor tennis and sand volleyball courts to add capacity ($478,000)



• Renovation of Howelsen HIll Lodge ($6 million)

• Second sheet of outdoor covered ice with meeting rooms and concessions ($1.6 million)

• Parking improvements ($1.8 million)

— Big dreams turned into hard budget realities Wednesday night as the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission offered its initial reaction to the draft of a $31.1 million master plan for Howelsen Hill.

Commissioners liked a lot of what they saw in the draft plan for the city’s diverse and historic park, including the recommendation for a new indoor recreation center and a renovation of Howelsen Hill Lodge.

But several commissioners kept wondering aloud how such a big plan would ever be funded.

“The funding is always going to be the elephant in the room,” Doug Tumminello said. “I think it will take some real creativity and some real leadership if this is going to be approved and if any of it is going to come to fruition.”

Commission Chairman Alan Koermer also acknowledged that the plan for Howelsen Hill is not something the city can afford to fund right now, and he said perhaps the commission should look at prioritizing parts of the plan and seeing what could be accomplished.

After about an hour and a half of discussing the master plan, the commission ultimately voted to table it until January to give city staff some time to provide more detail on the amount of revenue they think new and improved amenities could generate.

Several commissioners made it clear that they want to take their time and help finalize a comprehensive plan that could earn the approval of the Steamboat Springs City Council.

The draft of the master plan was the result of months of meetings and input from the park’s many users and members of the public.

The commission had a wide variety of reactions to the recommended improvements to the park.

Commissioner JoEllen Heydon said renovations to the lodge as well as improved parking are needed.

And Chrissy Lynch asked why improvements to the ski jumps were not mentioned in the plan.

Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department Director John Overstreet said the jumps weren’t mentioned very often during the master planning process, and they did not rise to the top of the improvements that were recommended by park users and the public.

Several commissioners talked about a desire to see the rodeo grounds utilized more in the winter.

And many shared a concern about the limited vehicular access to the park and how improvements could exacerbate that problem.

The commissioners also spent a lot of time discussing the proposed indoor recreation center included in the draft of the master plan.

They heard from Mark Lynch and Kevin Sankey, the two community members who led an unsuccessful effort to build a fieldhouse at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

Sankey and Lynch plan to meet with Overstreet to share what they learned during their efforts to build the fieldhouse.

The commissioners also fielded some public comment on the plan from a range of park users ranging from pickleball players to trail users.

The discussion on the master plan is scheduled to resume in January.

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


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