Yampa River Botanic Park stewards seek solutions for parking issue
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Stewards of the Yampa River Botanic Park are asking the city for some dedicated parking spaces after seeing some of their potential guests turning around in the summer due to an overcrowded parking lot.
Botanic Park board member Kathy Connell said Thursday some wedding guests, Strings concertgoers and other park visitors have had trouble finding a place to park when the parking spaces are also filled by visitors of the nearby ballfields.
“It’s not like we haven’t been trying to work together, but nothing has been consistent, and we’re in need of some dedicated spaces,” she said.
Connell said the parking situation is emblematic of a larger potential issue — the overuse of community parks in Steamboat Springs.
“Our community has not been willing to bite the bullet and look at what (resources) it takes to hold these larger competitive events,” she said referring to such things as soccer and Triple Crown tournaments.
She also raised noise as an issue.
“We’ve had situations where the noise (from the nearby fields) during a wedding or a memorial was too loud,” she said.
Connell said Triple Crown and soccer tournaments are important sales tax drivers in the city. But she suggested the city needs to invest in additional facilities so that the community parks are not overused.
The idea of new ballfields has been floated over the years, but the city has not yet identified a piece of land where they would be built.
New fields were floated in a parks and recreation survey that was recently sent out to 3,000 random households in the city.
Meanwhile, Connell said the Botanic Park board has been pursuing a parking remedy for the last two years.
“There’s quite a history,” she said. “If you don’t have barriers or something permanent (dedicating parking), other people, whether they are locals or Triple Crown, will park there.”
She added garbage bins have also taken up some parking spaces.
A new access to Emerald Park, which could open as soon as this spring, should help, Connell said.
But Connell and Botanic Board Board President Sonia Franzel urged the City Council on Tuesday night during a public comment period to help find some spaces specifically for the Botanic Park.
Franzel floated the idea of allowing the Botanic Park to utilize adjacent land for parking.
Connell mentioned potentially putting up removable fencing or barriers to designate parking for the Botanic Park.
“This is the only quiet place we have to go to in the summer,” Connell said.
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A big blizzard, which covered the Colorado high country with snow on Friday, impacted travel into the early morning hours on Saturday.