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City of Steamboat Springs NEWS

Posted on: March 28, 2018

Alternatives & Funding Sources for Parks Proposed

A week ago, the City of Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation presented alternatives and ideas for improving the city’s parks, recreation, open space, trails and river facilities during a public workshop at Olympian Hall. 

Choices include multiple concepts for enhancing Howelsen Park and Ski Hill, such as providing new multi-purpose grass fields, festival and performance facilities, upgrading the historic lodge, and parking reconfiguration, which requires removal of ballfields. 

Other options for capital improvements include projects like extending the Core Trail, constructing parking at the Blackmere trailhead at Emerald Mountain, implementing the Rodeo Master Plan, constructing Bear River Park, and indoor gyms and fields. Potential changes to managing uses on the Yampa River are also being explored.

180319-Howelsen Phased Park Plan-Portrait Small_thumb.jpg

These options have been developed based on comprehensive public input and now the community is asked to weigh in on their priorities through a statistically-valid, community-wide survey which is being distributed to randomly selected households within the city this week. The survey will help the community understand residents’ preferences and develop an implementable plan for the future.

The survey will also assess support for alternative funding measures. The current department budget will not cover the costs for these improvements. It is not possible to raise fees high enough or rely on partnerships or grants for long-term funding sources. The majority of capital construction costs in communities are typically funded through sales tax, property tax or special assessment, such as the Accommodations Tax. 

Adequate funding for capital improvements, operations and maintenance has been a challenge over the past 10 years with the opening of Emerald Mountain Open Space and its trail system, increasing use by tourists of the trail system, sports facilities and the Yampa River, more community events and festivals, and needs for replacing aging facilities.

If not part of the mailed survey, the general public can provide input online via by clicking on the Parks, Recreation, Open Space, Trails & River Master Plan project and then going to the Survey tab.

The city has been working to develop a Parks, Recreation, Open Space, Trails and Yampa River Master Plan since late 2017 and has included an assessment of the existing system, stakeholder interviews and several public events. The Plan will provide a 10-year vision for the city’s park and recreation facilities and amenities, as well as an action plan for implementing this vision based on fiscally sound decision making. 

For information and to sign up for Master Plan updates visit:

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John Overstreet, Parks & Recreation Director, 970.871.7017, 
Kristina Kachur, Logan Simpson, 970.449.4100,  
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