Steamboat receives Starburst Award

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A year after their completion, the all-season ski jumps at Howelsen Hill are being recognized by the Colorado Lottery for enhancing youth programs in Steamboat Springs.

The Colorado Lottery Starburst Community Awards recognize facilities that exhibit cost-efficient and creative use of Colorado Lottery funds. The award acknowledges sites that provide excellent recreational activities for the community's youths. Two Colorado mountain communities - Steamboat Springs and the Western Eagle County Recreation District - recently were awarded Starburst Awards for their use of funds to promote Colorado's outdoor programs.

Eagle County built a 29,000-square-foot community skatepark. Great Outdoors Colorado funded the project, which also won a Regional Starburst Award.

GOCO is an organization that receives 50 percent of the proceeds from the Colorado Lottery, which is its only source of funding. The organization began giving grants in 1994 and has since awarded $498 million to more than 2,100 projects statewide.

GOCO grants helped fund the city of Steamboat Springs' Colorado Ski Heritage Project that allowed Howelsen Hill's ski jumps to be expanded. The project installed plastic on an intermediate ski jump, allowing Howelsen's facilities to be used year-round.

"GOCO grant funds were critical to the project and helped us leverage additional grants and donations that were needed to fully fund the project," said Chris Wilson, director of Parks, Open Space and Recreation in Steamboat.

The revamped jumps were completed in fall 2005. They have allowed Nordic athletes to train in their home communities instead of traveling to other year-round facilities. Steamboat has the only full-scale ski jump facility in Colorado, and it is one of four in North America.

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