Thursday, October 10, 2002
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association took the first step toward a possible major expansion this fall when it relocated its tennis courts to the site of the old Trailer Haven mobile home park.
Health and Recreation also built a new parking lot where the tennis courts originally stood.
"This is step one toward the ultimate goal," Health and Recreation Manager Pat Carney said. "It's part of a long-range plan."
Pending the nonprofit's financial health, its board of directors would like to build a 20,000-square-foot building expansion over the old parking lot within three to five years.
Carney said the project would allow Health and Recreation to expand its existing locker rooms into the current fitness studios and replace the studios in the new addition. It is premature to specify what new facilities Health and Recreation might be able to offer as a result of the expansion, Carney said, but a racquetball court and an indoor running track have been discussed.
Carney said it's likely the Health and Recreation Association board would put considerable weight on a 1999 feasibility study. That study was prepared by a consultant on behalf of a citizens group pushing for a new civic recreation center. Carney served on the committee that undertook the study.
Carney believes many of the community preferences indicated by the study are still useful. She said one much-desired facility that Health and Recreation cannot accommodate is a full-size gymnasium.
Health and Recreation's move toward the future was made possible when it purchased the mobile home park in 2000 for about $600,000. The elimination of the mobile home park was controversial but allowed the organization to boost its total number of parking spaces from 88 to 146. That move was deemed necessary before the city would ever entertain a building expansion.
"We're building for the future," Carney said. She said Health and Recreation now has much more parking than it needs and more than it is required to have by the city.
The new tennis courts are across Fish Creek Falls Road from the main Health and Recreation building. But there are 10 parking spaces at the new courts, reducing the need for pedestrians to cross the road.
Carney estimated that out of 1,000 member visits to Health and Recreation on a typical summer day, just 50 arrive to play tennis. The real key to the project was creating additional parking to pave the way for a future expansion.
The cost of converting the old courts into a parking lot and building the new courts is approaching $300,000, almost twice what Carney had originally estimated the project would cost. Health and Recreation has spent $275,000 to date and anticipates spending another $30,000 on landscaping along Fish Creek Falls Road next spring.
The cost of the project was actually reduced by the fact that the old tennis courts were overbuilt with 4 inches of asphalt when they were constructed in the late 1960s.
"All we had to do was dig an electric line, install a couple of light poles and seal coat it," Carney said.
Health and Recreation also built a small extension of the Spring Creek Trail. Carney said ultimately, the city would like to build a trail underpass beneath Fish Creek Falls Road at the tennis courts to improve the connection all of the way to U.S. 40.