Two projects funded by GOCo

Heritage Park artificial turf field project gains $150K grant

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A plan to install an artificial turf field at Heritage Park has been awarded a $150,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

Also in this funding cycle, GOCo awarded $885,000 for the first phase of the Wolf Mountain Ranch Conservation Easement, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. The money will be used to purchase a conservation easement on about 950 acres of the Wolf Mountain Ranch as part of a conservation project that eventually will protect 6,300 acres of the 22,000-acre ranch from development.

In Heritage Park, the artificial-turf field will be located next to Christian Heritage School and will be suitable for youth baseball, softball and soccer.

The benefit of artificial turf is that snow on the field would melt faster in the spring and open up outdoor field space for spring sports when other fields are too muddy to be used.

The baseball field will be 132 feet to the first base line and 291 feet down the center of the field.

Inside the baseball diamond, there will be a rectangular field to be used for youth soccer games. The soccer field is estimated to be 65 yards by 32 yards.

The cost of the project is estimated at $250,000.

Had GOCo not funded the project, it would have required an additional $100,000 contribution from the city, or $150,000 would need to be raised through private donations, according to comments made by Chris Wilson, director of the city Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services, at an Oct. 5 City Council meeting.

The Steamboat Springs City Council has allocated $100,000 to the artificial turf project.

The artificial turf project went up against 47 other projects that applied to GOCo during this funding cycle. Twenty-five projects were approved.

"Part of the reason we chose this project was there was clearly a need with limited field space. The field is accessible to the bike path, by public transit and by car, and the city did a good job of providing matching funds," GOCo communications director Chris Leding said.

The decision to fund the field was made Wednesday, but has not officially been announced, Leding said.

Funding will arrive in phases. "We reimburse governments as they get projects completed."

The Wolf Ranch easement was one of 12 applications submitted to GOCo for land conservation. All 12 were approved for funding. The first phase of the local project will protect a half-mile of the Yampa River, 100 acres of riparian bottomland and 850 acres of upland sagebrush and oak shrubland.

"We know this project has been a priority for The Nature Conservatory since the mid-'80s," Leding said. "The land is located right across from the Carpenter Ranch, which was one of our first open space projects.

"This area is important wildlife corridor and supports one of the largest elk herds in the state."

-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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