Disc golf opens at Rita Valentine Park in Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Disc golf opens at Rita Valentine Park in Steamboat

Some nearby residents upset about use of open space for new course

Mike Lawrence

Stakes mark a new disc golf course at Rita Valentine Park. The Steamboat Area Disc Golf League is requesting hole sponsors during a yearlong trial period for the course.

— A local disc golf group is promoting a new course at Rita Valentine Park where some nearby residents have long fought to preserve open space and prevent large-scale changes to the natural setting.

The Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission gave initial approval to a disc golf course at the 35-acre park between Anglers Drive and Hill­top Parkway in July 2009 as part of conceptual designs for the park's long-term use. Chris Wilson, director of the city's Parks, Open Space and Rec­reational Services Depart­ment, said plans for the course solidified during two public meetings of the commission and a hole-by-hole walk-through of the 18-hole course.

The Steamboat Area Disc Golf League states on its website that the Fox Creek Disc Golf Course now is open to the public "with bamboo poles where future baskets will be."

Wilson said the course is open for a one-year trial period. He said he and the commission worked with a group Wilson called the Rita Valentine Park Coalition and "had good attendance from the neighbors throughout the process." But Wilson acknowledged that the disc golf course also spurred debate and public opposition, including recent phone calls he received from at least two residents of subdivisions near the park.

"I wouldn't say we got resounding support," Wilson said about the process leading to the disc golf course. "I think the group, though … understood the park and recreation commission's recommendation."

Wilson said the Steamboat disc golf league would be responsible for maintenance of the park, including trash removal. The league also has some fundraising to do — its website is requesting "18 lifetime hole sponsors" at a cost of $750 each, as part of a cost that could reach $10,000.

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A year ago, the Parks and Rec­­reation Commission also supported additional trails, a dog park and a buffer zone between park activity and residents. That support drew anger from some residents last year who argued that the park already had plenty of uses in its relatively untouched state.

"Many of us in that area find a way to use that beautiful park," Mary Ann Cutter said at the time. "I'm amazed about what kind of activity there is throughout the day. I don't want any of you to think there's nothing going on there."

Wilson noted that the Res­­ponsible Dog Ownership Group of Steamboat has worked toward an approved voice- and leash-control program for dogs at Rita Valentine Park. Leash laws and dog parks are on the Steam­­boat Springs City Council agenda Aug. 3.

"It's been a very busy park property," Wilson said.

Other park news

Chris Wilson, director of the city's Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department, said plans are moving forward to create a public bathroom at Little Toots Park, on the Yampa River Core Trail next to Bud Werner Memorial Library on the west side of downtown Steamboat Springs. Wilson said his department has received $21,000 in grant funding from Great Outdoors Colorado that, pending final approval, will be paired with $11,000 approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council as a supplemental budget appropriation.

Wilson said he is working with city officials and Ed Becker, of Mountain Architecture Design Group, on plans for the bathroom, which would be installed on the garden level of the building used by the Yampa Valley Land Trust.

City Councilman Walter Magill has long lobbied for a public bathroom at Little Toots, where more than one council member has admitted allowing his or her children to relieve themselves on the grass in a secluded area because young children sometimes can't make it to the library in time. Magill also consistently lobbies for improvements to bathrooms at Howelsen Hill.


Learn more about the Steamboat Area Disc Golf League, which created the map of the new disc golf course, online at http://steamboat disc.com.

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