Center's color concerns council

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The Steamboat Springs City Council approved the building plans for a renovated tennis facility, but not without questioning what its visual effects would be.

At Tuesday night's meeting, city staff came forward with plans for $2 million upgrades to the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. In November, the council approved spending the money to replace the tennis bubble, which is kept up by air, with a frame structure that has a fabric outer layer.

Council members worried that the proposed bright white cloth that would go over the structure would stir complaints. Council members discussed whether a new color, such as beige or off-white, should be used or whether the cloth structure should have two tones.

"I think, oftentimes, our community becomes complacent until something is built there. We are dealing with that in other things in the community quite near there," Councilwoman Kathy Connell said.

Director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Chris Wilson said that if the color of the cloth were to change now, it would cost the city $10,000 and a possible 10-week delay.

Wilson said that the city already had put in an order for the white cloth and that sewing has begun. With the city hoping to start work on the framing of the Tennis Center at the start of September, a 10-week delay could be devastating and push the construction into the winter.

"It would come in late October, which is not a good time to do construction in Steamboat," Wilson said. "The discussion about the color has been an issue all the way through. I think there has been support for what we got."

Tennis Center Director Jim Swiggart said delaying the cloth could mean as much as $30,000 in lost revenue for the Tennis Center, plus the potential to interfere with the high school boys tennis season and an adult-league season.

He said the white cloth would look better in the snow-covered months than other colors and suggested using more vegetation around the building if the council wanted to break up the mass and color.

Council members agreed to leave the color white and asked city staff to return with a revised landscaping plan that would provide a 10- to 12-foot buffer along the building.

The council also followed the recommendation of the Planning Commission, which refused to budge about when the city could put in sidewalks for the renovated Tennis Center.

The city had proposed building a sidewalk connecting the new Tennis Center to Pine Grove Road next spring. But Planning Commissioners said they wanted to see the improvements before the facility was given a certificate of occupancy, which they hoped to have in 2005.

The council agreed.

"I don't think we should treat ourselves any differently," Connell said.

In addition to a new outer structure, the tennis facility improvements would add two tennis courts. The proposed tennis facility also includes new heating, lighting and insulation, bathrooms accessible to people with disabilities, a viewing area, offices, a meeting room and additional storage.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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