Whistler bike park faces Parks and Rec meeting vote | SteamboatToday.com

Whistler bike park faces Parks and Rec meeting vote

Commission to recommend whether Steamboat Springs should assume liability

A sign stands in a field near Whistler Park, where some residents would like to see a new bike park constructed. While the proposed park has supporters, it also has met with resistance from nearby residents.
John F. Russell

— The planners of a proposed bike park near Whistler Park will learn Wednesday night whether they’re getting closer to starting construction after they appear before Steamboat Springs’ Parks and Recreation Commission.

After getting feedback from the public and the park planners, the commission will make a recommendation to the Steamboat Springs City Council about whether the city should assume liability for the course.

Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department Director Chris Wilson said Tuesday that the commission would discuss the benefits of the park as well as the opposition to it that has come from a group of Whistler Park neighbors who said last month that the noise and dust associated with the park’s construction would negatively impact their neighborhood. The neighbors also questioned the course’s potential impact on wildlife near Walton Creek.

Despite those concerns, planners cleared the first of many hurdles last month after the Steamboat Springs School Board unanimously approved a temporary construction easement that will allow builders to use a path on district-owned land during the park’s construction phase.

Planners said last month that they had hoped to start building the dirt course in September, but they now will have to wait until Oct. 21 to learn whether the park can move forward. That’s when Mount Werner Water District will vote on whether to allow the park to be built on a 2-acre plot of land it owns between Walton Creek and Whistler Park. Before that, the Routt County Planning Commission also must approve a temporary land-use permit.

Bob Vanderbeek, who is funding the $17,000 park with the Steamboat-based nonprofit Directional Development Foundation, said if the park is approved, its construction would then be dependent on the weather.

“If we’ve gone into winter, we’re done,” he said. “But if it’s still dry, and we have an Indian summer, we can get the topography worked out in about a week, and next spring we can build the features. That’s the best-case scenario.”

He said he’s hopeful the park will be approved and serve as a place where cyclists can learn the skills that are needed to ride on area bike trails.

“There’s a lot of support among families and the kids to build a skills park like this,” he said.

If constructed, the park would include a dirt course, jump lines and a pump track. It would be maintained for three years and then removed because the Mount Werner Water District previously indicated it must be a temporary installment. Vanderbeek said he hopes to find a permanent location for the park during that time.

— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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