Center submits pool plans

Health and Rec officials want indoor swimming, renovations

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Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association officials have submitted plans for the construction of an indoor pool.

The plans, which also detail several renovations and a new parking lot, are in a pre-application stage. Pre-application plans usually are submitted to gather input from city staff, the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission and the Steamboat Springs City Council. No official decisions are made during the pre-application stage, and plans often change based on the reviews.

As they are now, the plans include construction of a new building that would house an eight-lane lap pool and leisure pools. The existing hot pools and water slide would be renovated.

The Health and Recreation Association is a private, nonprofit organization that operates the recreation center at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue. The center's amenities include three outdoor water facilities -- a lap pool, a children's pool and hot springs -- and an indoor facility with exercise equipment.

Health and Recreation Assoc--iation Director Pat Carney said people who are concerned about the loss of an outdoor pool shouldn't worry. The hot springs pools would be renovated so that at least one of the pools would be larger, and it would be cooled off during summer.

"We will have an outdoor pool," Carney said.

Other changes include renovation and an addition to the building. To provide more parking, a lot would be built in place of the tennis courts, which are north of the recreation center.

Health and Recreation Ass----ociation officials also plan to build a pedestrian underpass at Fish Creek Falls Road. The pass would connect to an existing trail.

The association does not have the money to independently fund the project -- which Carney said could cost between $13 million and $16 million. Rather, the nonprofit organization would have to partner with the city, Carney said. She was not sure how much money the association would need, because the cost of the project has not been determined. Carney said private funding also could be used to help fund the project.

City planning staff have criticized parts of the project. Planner Bob Keenan said one of those concerns was an increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

"The area is already very congested," he said. "It's not an easy place to get into."

Planning staff also had concerns about the general concept of the project, Keenan said. The downtown area is of special concern, he said, and the center is located in a "gateway" intersection. The concept doesn't necessarily meet the historical character of downtown, he said.

Carney disagrees.

"We think this will improve and enhance the center," she said. "We feel like we know what's best for this association."

On Tuesday, the City Council discussed setting a review date for the proposed project. That date could be May 16, when the council is hearing a report about the feasibility of a new recreation center in Steamboat.

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