Steamboat’s new skatepark completed |

Steamboat’s new skatepark completed

City plans to hold soft opening Saturday, grand opening in spring

Mike Lawrence

Construction still is taking place around the new skatepark behind the Routt County Justice Center, but the city and the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance are holding a soft opening from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

— After 10 years, what's one more winter?

The city's new skatepark is completed, city staff members said Thursday, ending a long and tumultuous process of community fundraising, planning, delays, more fundraising and, finally, success — just in time for the snow to fly. But if weather allows, a soft opening of the skatepark will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday before city staff closes the park for the winter.

Chris Wilson, director of the city's Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department, said Thursday that builders Team Pain have finished the concrete structure at the Bear River parcel, at the western end of the Yampa River Core Trail behind the Routt County Justice Center. The city and the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance are hosting Saturday's event and planning a grand opening in the spring.

"Our new skatepark is an incredible accomplishment for the city of Steamboat Springs and an amenity that will serve kids of all ages for years to come," Jon Casson, director of the Skatepark Alliance, said in a news release. "We appreciate the support from every corner of the community."

Casson could not be reached late Thursday.

Casson formed the Skatepark Alliance in 2003 and continued fundraising efforts for repairs and renovations to Howelsen Hill Skate Park. In 2006, a concrete skatepark was included in draft plans for the Bear River parcel — the site of decommissioned sewer lagoons. Delays in cleaning up the lagoons set the skatepark's timetable back in 2007 and 2008, but fundraising efforts continued.

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Casson and the Skatepark Alliance raised $60,000 through private donations and grants — including a $10,000 grant from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation — to help build the concrete park. The city contributed $50,000, and the project earned a $200,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, enabling the project to move forward this fall. Wilson has said fundraising for the skatepark is the result of an almost 10-year push by community members.

Team Pain has built skateparks in Aspen, Silverthorne and Colorado Springs, in addition to across the country and overseas.

Former City Council President Loui Antonucci, who left the council Tuesday after serving since 2001, listed the skatepark as a proud accomplishment of city officials and the community during his tenure and that of former councilman Steve Ivancie, who also left Tuesday after serving since 2001.

Wilson said work including landscaping and signage remains for the 9,000-square-foot park in the spring and that Phase 2 of the project is planned for when funding allows.

He asked all park users to respect the winter closure and not attempt to clear the surface with shovels, picks or salt, as that could damage the concrete.

He said if weather does not allow Saturday's soft opening, a similar event could be scheduled later this month if conditions allow. After that, Wilson said, the park will be closed off by fencing throughout the winter.

"It'll be off limits," Wilson said. "We'll have a sign up there, but we know how eager everyone is. We don't want to damage what we've worked so hard to get."

If you go

What: Soft opening of the new


Where: In west Steamboat Springs on the Yampa River Core Trail behind the Routt County Justice Center. Vehicle access to the park is on Lagoon Court, a dirt road off U.S. Highway 40 just west of the Routt County Sheriff’s Office. More parking is available at the Stock Bridge Transit Center, with access to the park via the Core Trail.

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, weather permitting. If rain or snow cancels the event, it could be rescheduled for later this month if weather allows.

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