Downtown Steamboat space to be converted to skate and bike park
October 26, 2011
Steamboat Springs — David Chase Rugs & Furniture in downtown Steamboat Springs is about to transform.
The home decor store that has operated at its Lincoln Avenue location for five years is slated to become the Steamboat Gravity Center, an indoor skate and bike park geared toward youths, owner David Scully said. He said it would be a place teens could go to do homework or to hang out. There would be a lounge, concessions, TVs and video games.
And of course, Scully said, there would be a foam pit, trampolines, half- and quarter-pipes, rails and other skate and bike features.
"As far as a community need, it sounds like there's a lot of pent-up energy both from the teenagers and from the parental standpoint for teens to have a place to be a safe haven for them, a place they can call their own," he said.
The idea was suggested to him last year, Scully said. He said that his store's business model doesn't work in the current economy and that it made sense to consider moving from his 12,000-square-foot space to a location with 2,000 to 2,500 square feet.
After revisiting the idea again in the spring, Scully said he started meeting with possible user groups including Bike Town USA, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, the Steamboat Springs Teen Council and the Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department.
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Scully said the support has been "overwhelming" to create an indoor recreation facility.
Brooke Lightner, teen programs coordinator for the city's Parks and Recreation Department, assists the Teen Council. She said Teen Council members decided to donate the proceeds from the $2 entry fees that will be collected during the group's movie night screening of "Poltergeist" on Friday at Centennial Hall.
The Teen Council long has advocated for a local teen center. Lightner said the Teen Council still would like a dedicated teen space but has focused recently on hosting drug- and alcohol-free events for local youths.
"I think they're doing what they can, supporting initiatives like the (Steamboat) Gravity Center, like Sk8 Church, other groups that are out there … until the teen center idea gets more into the ground," she said.
Scully said meetings with local youths helped him identify uses for the space, including having a DJ or live music on Friday and Saturday nights. He said the plan was to be open during business hours for the Winter Sports Club, for students during after-school hours and for parents who need a place to take young children.
The Steamboat Gravity Center would offer season and monthly passes, punch cards and have an hourly rate, but Scully said those costs haven't been finalized. He said the skate and bike park would function as a nonprofit and would be run by a board of directors.
Scully also is creating a fundraising committee to raise the $200,000 he estimates it will cost to build the features and convert the location that has been zoned for retail to a community meeting space, which includes upgrades such as adding bathrooms.
In the meantime, he said a moving sale at David Chase Rugs & Furniture, which opened in 1994, is scheduled to continue through January to reduce his inventory that would allow him to move into a smaller space. Scully said construction — he's been working with the contractor who designed the Bear River Skate Park on Steamboat's west side — could start in February or March.
"We've had a lot of positive response from different user groups as well outside the focus of the teen user groups," he said. "I think it will be a good use of the space for the community."
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com