If you go
What: Meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.
Contact: Call city offices at 879-2060 for more information
5 p.m. Staff reports; resolutions and proclamations, including recognition of 35-year city employee Edna Tellier
7 p.m. Public comment; action on final development plan for renovations - including two new waterslides - at the Old Town Hot Springs in downtown Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs City officials could decide tonight whether to allow construction of two new waterslides that a city planner said would bring "too much Disneyland" to downtown Steamboat Springs.
In a meeting that begins at 5 p.m. at Centennial Hall on 10th Street, the Steamboat Springs City Council is scheduled to act on final development plans for $3.5 million in renovations to the hot pool area at the Old Town Hot Springs, a recreation center in downtown Steamboat. The renovations would combine several existing hot pools into a large, curving pool surrounded by landscaping; close the hot pools from April to November; and replace the current waterslide - built in 1981 - with a pair of new, gray waterslides that would descend from a 41-foot tower built onto the east end of the Hot Springs building on Lincoln Avenue near Third Street. The current slide is set into a hillside, making its fading green tube barely noticeable to people driving past the building on Lincoln Avenue.
Not so with the proposed new slides.
Last month, Andrew Barnard of the Denver architectural firm Sink Combs Dethlefs provided the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission with a rendering of the new waterslides. In an image that superimposes the waterslides and tower onto the Hot Springs building, showing a view from westbound Lincoln Avenue, a significant portion of the slides can clearly be seen.
Commissioners Dick Curtis and Steve Lewis strongly opposed the waterslides, saying they do not mesh with Steamboat's "community character."
"This is a little bit too much of Disneyland at the entrance to our town," Lewis said.
Despite the objections, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the renovations with a 4-2 vote.
Council member Steve Ivancie said he would focus on the comments and recommendations from planning commissioners when deciding on his vote tonight.
"We will have questions and look for answers and see what we can come to as far as consensus," Ivancie said Monday.
Regardless of the outcome, he said Old Town Hot Springs is an asset in the community.
"We're all growing, and they are an important partner to have," Ivancie said.
Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association, or SSHRA, is a private nonprofit organization that operates the Old Town Hot Springs. The SSHRA is not affiliated with the city of Steamboat Springs.
SSHRA director Pat Carney told the Planning Commission that the tower is positioned to provide easier access to the waterslides - and warmer access in the winter months - while allowing revegetation of the hillside. She also said the waterslides are a key source of income for Old Town Hot Springs.
Carney agreed to work with the architects to explore options for adding landscaping to the site to partially shield the waterslides from Lincoln Avenue.
Carney said she expects Tuesday's meeting will go well, and an activity has been planned for Saturday night to bid the waterslide farewell until the new slides are completed Dec. 1.
The "Wake for the Waterslide" will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday and includes free slide rides and pizza. The event is free for members and $5 for nonmembers.
"Come and express your condolences as we lay our waterslide to rest," reads a flier promoting the wake.
SSHRA board and staff members will be at the event to answer questions.
"It's a celebration of 25 years of the slide before it's demolished," Carney said.
The pools also will be open Sunday, and as long as the project is approved tonight, TCD will start construction Monday, Carney said.
Also at tonight's City Council meeting, the council will recognize Edna Tellier, the city's payroll technician, who is retiring after 35 years of working for the city - the longest tenure of any current city employee. Tellier became Steamboat's first city clerk when the City Council, formerly the Steamboat Springs Town Board, held its first meeting in 1974.