City Council holds off on turf field

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Shifting a proposed artificial turf field from a parcel of land next to Christian Heritage School to Steamboat Springs High School is not an option, City Council members were told Tuesday.

Steamboat Springs City Man--ager Paul Hughes said during Tuesday's council meeting that an artificial turf field the city has planned to build would not fit in the high school's existing football stadium. Hughes' comments were part of the council's discussion about what to do with the planned artificial turf field after bids to build it were twice as much as initial estimates.

City officials had estimated the cost of building a field just east of Christian Heritage School at $250,000. The lowest bid was $492,000.

Hughes recommended that the city put construction plans on hold and said that city staff members plan to appear again before the City Council with recommendations about how to proceed.

The city has a $150,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado that would be used toward the field's construction costs. The council has until Dec. 31 to use the grant, and Hughes said city officials are talking to GOCo officials about their options.

It would be difficult to defer the grant to next year and could hurt the city's ability to win future grants from GOCo.

City Director of Inter--gov--ern--mental Services Linda Kakela said the city could ask for a 90-day extension from GOCo, but even the extension would delay field construction into winter.

City officials have contacted Steam--boat Springs School Dist--rict officials about alternatives for the artificial turf field. Hughes said there was interest in having the artificial field constructed in Steamboat Springs High School's football and track complex.

"That can't work for about nine different reasons," Hughes said.

Among those reasons, Hughes said, is that a softball field cannot fit within the limited space at the football stadium.

The plans for an artificial turf field at Heritage Park call for a baseball field that would be 132 feet to the first-base line and 291 feet to center field.

Inside the baseball diamond would be a rectangle field that could hold youth soccer games for children 9 and younger. That field would be 65 yards long and 32 yards wide.

The field planned at Christian Heritage School is too small for adult and high school teams to hold regulation games, but an artificial turf field would be useful for spring training. Some Triple Crown games also could be held there.

Heritage Park homeowners also attended the meeting and voiced concerns about having a field used for Triple Crown tournaments next to their homes. They said parking would be a problem and that the buffer zone between the field and their homes would be too small.

"It is not suitable," homeowners association President Tom Simmins said. "There is a lack of infrastructure and a lack of planning for adequate infrastructure if it was put in."

Hughes said that in addition to recommendations about what to do with the field, he would provide council members with a list of all the homeowners' concerns about the field that the city has addressed and the concerns that the city cannot reasonably address.

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