City to create new master plan for Bear River Park |

City to create new master plan for Bear River Park

Jett Nemec, 5, flies over a jump at the new Bear River Bike Park jump lines in Steamboat Springs as younger brother Cael Nemec watches. The brothers weren't afraid to tackle the jumps, which recently were completed as part of the Bell Built grant project.
Joel Reichenberger

— The city of Steamboat Springs will soon turn to the public to help it determine what new amenities should be constructed in a mostly-undeveloped park that is being eyed by several different user groups ranging from pickleball players to skateboarders.

The city expects it will be able to invest in improvements at Bear River Park in 2017, and it wants a new master plan to help determine what to build.

The city’s parks and community services department already has put together a list of more than two dozen different user groups that might have an interest in the park’s future.

The goal is to have a new master plan in place for the park before the city comes up with its budget proposals in the fall.

A public kickoff meeting for the master plan will be held sometime in late January.

Ideas the city has already received for the 14-acre park include such things as a new recreation center, pickleball courts, ball fields, a dog park and a frisbee golf course.

The park, which is located at the west end of the Yampa River Core Trail, currently houses a popular skatepark, a pump track for bicycles and an access point to the Yampa River.

City officials said the cyclists and skaters also have expressed an interest in expanding their existing facilities in the park.

“We have limited space here, and we want people to have their input on this park’s future,” city parks, open space and trails manager Craig Robinson said.

A master plan for the park was last created more than a decade ago.

However, city officials say the 2004 plan is outdated and a new one is needed because amenities have since been constructed outside the parameters of the original plan.

New recreation demands also have prompted the city to start coming up with a new plan.

The first plan was created before the public had access to the park, and city officials said the last planning process did not garner much community participation.

Community members who did participate favored the skate park but did not want to see ballfields at the location.

Other ideas being discussed at the time included an extension of the Yampa River Core Trail, the establishment of a usable open space area and an undisturbed riparian wildlife area.

Because of the park’s location on the Yampa, there is a limited amount of space for new amenities. A large portion of the park has wetlands and sits in the floodplain.

The remaining undeveloped portion of the property is a decomissioned wastewater storage lagoon.

Thanks to grant funding, the city will partner with the National Park Service to chart the park’s future. It’s a process the city used recently to develop a new master plan for Emerald Mountain Park.

In addition to community meetings, the public can expect to be able to give its feedback on a web portal rolled out by the city.

The master planning process is expected to last six months.

Stay tuned for meeting dates and other public feedback opportunities.

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

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