Judith Harrington: New rodeo needed

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Kudos to the Steamboat 700, LLC group.

Why can't city council members approach them for a donation of some acreage to relocate our rodeo grounds. Presently, those grounds are only used four months out of the year. Talk about minimal usage for a very, very expensive piece of property.

The rodeo grounds would be an ideal place to put the community center and also to build additional athletic facilities for our growing population, with parking also available.

The city can also permit the Steamboat 700 owners to build some affordable housing on the river in exchange for their donation.

Remember, Steamboat got its roots from the agricultural sector, and a new rodeo facility would emphasize the importance of our heritage in this community.

Besides, the present rodeo facilities are a joke (nothing like eating your hot dog in the aluminum stands while the bulls underneath are passing the flake of hay they ate earlier, or sitting on concrete when there is no room in the grandstands, or having the concession stands so close to the public toilets, etc., etc.)

Why can't we honor our cowboys/girls with a covered/open-ended arena, better grandstands and concession areas, better cattle and horse stalls, better trailer and car parking? Then, we can get the cutters back and improve the quality of our rodeos to attract more summer visitors and spectators. We can also say goodbye to Triple Crown since it, basically, is not a spectator sport, and we do not need any more empty fields for 8 to 9 months out of the year.

When I came to Steamboat in the 1980s, my first introduction to agriculture was at the Brown barn and, even though I have recently become a towny, I continue to treasure all of those experiences and the moments of owning my own ranch on the upper Elk River.

Surely, we could better honor our ranchers and locals by providing better rodeo facilities and also having a town community center that can accommodate our elderly, elementary and high school groups and athletes under one roof.

Our leaders need a clearer vision of the future growth of Steamboat and the facilities that can enhance the image that we wish to project.

The plans for a new community center have changed so many times that most people are confused and want to know why we are sending our elderly out to the west end of town for their lunches and activities. Is it too late to change the plans again and to do it right this time?

Judith Harrington

Steamboat Springs

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