Dare to imagine a great city, and along with it, a recreation center like no other. Dare to imagine squash courts, an indoor motocross track, a four-season ice climbing wall and perhaps even an indoor trophy trout stream.
OK, I admit it, the trout stream is a pipe dream. But just for a minute, imagine the grant monies you could leverage if you built an aquatic system devoted to the recovery of the endangered pikeminow.
And then, on the side, say you slipped in some native Colorado River cutthroat trout. My dream is to reserve a spot on my favorite riffle and pool stretch in January in Steamboat Springs, the same way golfers reserve a tee time in Scottsdale, Ariz.
I became a little overly excited this week when I read that a public open house had been held to discuss the possibilities for a new recreation center in Steamboat. It seems that, at this point in the game, nothing has been ruled out.
So, I'm willing to concede the artificial trout stream if we can please have a 3-kilometer, year-round synthetic Nordic skiing trail. It would go hand in hand with our summer ski jumping facility, and there would be no stopping the U.S. Nordic Combined team in Vancouver in 2010 if we had this summer training complex.
It isn't fair to focus entirely on skiing, and something that has been missing from Steamboat for more than a decade is a realistic archery hunting range.
There used to be an old-fashioned outdoor range on the backside of Howelsen Hill. However, city officials became worried that a mountain biker might take a practice arrow right through his Lycra-covered backside, and that was the end of that.
Now, we need to replace the range at the rec center. I'm not talking about big straw-filled bulls eyes at 50 paces, but an artificial aspen forest with pop-up elk targets to test a hunter's stalking skills.
There will be a need to build versatility into the new rec center, so I'm thinking on Tuesday and Thursday nights, the archery range could be used for the new coed paint ball league.
Why stop there? Baseball season in the Yampa Valley is too short, and an indoor batting cage in the basement of the rec center would go a great distance toward closing the gap with the Front Range. But an entire infield would be even better.
Not everyone in this crazy town, where one's worth is measured by the sports one plays, is passionate about the pursuit of healthy exercise. That's why I'm advocating building a high-stakes poker room in the rec center.
Motorsports don't get the respect they deserve in Ski Town U.S.A., and we're going to need that motocross track, perhaps ringing the artificial Nordic skiing track. The ceiling will need to be high enough to accommodate some big air jumps, and we'll need a good ventilation system. One proposal that emerged from the very tentative rec center meeting last week was the possibility that Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association might meet the civic demand for an indoor swimming pool if and when it expands at its existing campus. That would be fine with me. However, if Health and Rec is going to provide all of our water sports needs for the next century, we've got to have a cliff diving grotto like that one in the Casa Bonita restaurant on West Colfax in Lakewood. I've always wanted to do a half-gainer off that fake waterfall with the plastic ferns. How cool would that be?