Bear River parcel meeting tonight

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The public will be invited to view several conceptual plans for a new park on Steamboat's west side tonight.

The city of Steamboat Springs will host the second in a series of meetings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the best use for the 18-acre "Bear River" parcel bordering the Yampa River. The name is a nod to the historic name for the headwaters of the Yampa.

City staff and consultants are preparing a master plan for the park to be built behind Curve Shopping Center. The parcel is the former home of a city sewer lagoon and includes extensive wetlands.

One possibility originally mentioned for the park was building a new softball diamond that could accommodate tournament play. However, many of the 30 nearby residents who turned out for a similar meeting in August opposed that suggestion. Some neighbors expressed concern about the amount of traffic associated with regularly scheduled softball games.

Other suggestions for the parcel included creating a place where people could exercise their dogs off-leash. Some people suggested leaving the parcel in its present condition as open space; others spoke in favor of building a skate park.

The master plan being prepared by Mountain West Design Group is intended to fulfill the terms of a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.

Mountain West's Mike Campbell said Tuesday he would present several schematic drawings during the meeting. They will show a variety of ways to configure the most popular uses that arose from the August meeting. The drawings will show how a skate park, informal playing field and playground could be accommodated, Campbell said. The drawings also will show a zone of undisturbed riparian area along the river.

"It's a great spot," Campbell said.

The deadline for submitting a master plan to GOCo is the end of the year. The city remains open to new suggestions for the parcel.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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