Committee recommends recreation facility with pools



Parker Schell juggles a soccer ball Monday on a soccer field at Ski Town Fields on Pine Grove Road. The Steamboat Springs City Council could decide tonight whether to place tax funding for a $34 million recreation center at the site on November's ballot.

— Tax funding for a $34 million recreation center at Ski Town Fields could be on the ballot for Steamboat Springs voters in November.

The Recreational Needs Exploratory Committee will recommend tonight that the Steamboat Springs City Council move forward with design plans for such a facility, which would be located on Pine Grove Road near The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. City-owned athletic fields currently occupy the site. The recommended facility would include space for youth and teen programs, an indoor playground, a double-sized gymnasium, a fitness center, and aquatic features including a six-lane lap pool, diving well and leisure pool.

The committee is a local group that for the past two months has built on the work of recreation consultants hired by the city in January. The committee used results from a recent survey to create its recommendation.

"Incorporating the citizen survey response (which supports the Ski Town ball field site at 62 percent) and a consolidated program of $34 million : is the best approach," the committee stated in its report to city staff and council members. "Support for this building program has seen vocal confirmation in public meetings, informal surveys and focus groups."

The report does not say whether a ballot issue would ask voters for sales tax funding, property tax funding or both to fund the recreation center.

Discussions about building a recreation center in Steamboat date back to at least 1999, when city-hired consultants conducted a study about local recreation needs. In 2006, a group of local parents attempted to put a recreation center on the ballot, but failed because of time constraints. The City Council decided to take a year to develop more specific plans and gather public input, a process that could take a major step forward tonight.

Shannon Lukens, a local parent who helped lead last year's recreation center effort, cheered Monday when she heard about the committee's recommendation.

"Our groups are ready to wholeheartedly back it," Lukens said, speaking for Citizens for a Community Recreation Center and Steamboat Parents for an Aquatic Recreation Center Soon. "We will make sure the community is educated and we will make sure this is passed - just put it on the ballot, that's all we ask."

City Manager Alan Lanning cautioned that the committee's recommendation will only provide information to the City Council and does not guarantee a ballot issue.

"This is only intended to assist the council in making a decision about whether to put it on the ballot," Lanning said. "This is a significant amount of money."

City Council President Susan Dellinger said Monday she supports the committee's recommendation.

"It looks like we can take it to the ballot," Dellinger said. "We'll have to decide (tonight), because of the timeframe."

The city has $250,000 in 2007 capital funds earmarked for recreation center design and planning. Should the City Council decide to place a $34 million center on the ballot, recreation consultants from Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture and Greenplay, LLC, would likely be commissioned to create specific building designs, elevations and costs in preparation for November.

"The city has really done its research, and it shows that this is what people want," Lukens said. "We want the people to be able to decide."


steamvent 9 years, 9 months ago

Every time people whine about the lack of affordable living in Steamboat, they should ask themselves why they keep voting for tax based frills and feel good programs that support development, that in turn draw more people to the area, that in turn cause more development. Many think we will be primarily taxing the people who own well more than 50% of the property here but don't live here ... "make those suckers pay for our ammenities." This escalating frenzy will consume us all. The construction of a recreation center, just like the new library, will have a perpetual staffing and maintenance cost which few people consider. It is only a matter of time before there is a proposal to further expand the private jet parking at the airport, because those are the only people who can afford to be here.


housepoor 9 years, 9 months ago

wouldn't it be better to sell the property on pine grove at market value and acquire cheaper land west of town for the center? If the rec center is for locals why does it need to be so close to the ski area?


JQPUBLIC 9 years, 9 months ago

well said steamvent... housepoor... haven't you figured out that everything they do is tourist based? They say it's for the locals so they can justify the locals paying for it.

Why don't we have our paychecks made out directly to the government... let the city, county, state, and feds take what they need and return the leftover to us, it would save a lot of time and trouble and when we get nothing back to live on, they might figure out we are slightly overtaxed.... is someone worried about affordable?


momofthree 9 years, 9 months ago

  1. I agree this town needs an indoor rec center to give young kids (toddlers-grades 1) a place to play in the winter; older kids (grades 2 and up) a place to play indoor sports like basketball and gymnastics; and adult rec leagues. But such a center should not cost $34 million, and should probably be built either right downtown near the schools (how about the old high-school site, currenly being used by Soda Creek but which will presumably be available in a year or two) or west of town, where all future local housing will be. it makes no sense to make locals drive through downtown and create more traffic to get from home to school to rec center and back.
  2. Why should the city pay for a fitness center? we already have the health & rec and several smaller options, none of which seem overly crowded, and if there IS a need for more or better fitness equipment, someone should open a new health club and run it as a for-profit business. (i say this as someone who works out often, so i do appreciate the value of fitness centers)
  3. there is absolutely no need for another pool in this town. as an adult simmer, i have never had trouble getting room to swim at the health and rec, even during the busy summer. if you want your kid to be a nationally competitive swimmer, move to florida (seriously; you wouldn't expect your kids to be competitive skiers if you lived in florida, would you?). if you're content for them to compete on the local and state level, drive to craig and use that pool in the winter--even in florida, people routinely drive an hour to access competitive swimming facilities.

beentheredonethat 9 years, 9 months ago

i like that comment...lets have a new payroll deduction, for all steamboat property owners, go directly to pay for these tourist attractions.


Socrates 9 years, 9 months ago

Comprehensive recreation facilities are community and family friendly. Fragmented facilities=fragmented families. Building at the base of the ski area has the opportunity for partnership with private funders for special amenities. There is also a bus route and parking opportunities available.

$34 million is the high end of what could be built. These consultants choose to err on the side of inflated pricing rather than low balling the price to get things moving and then bringing out actual costs.

Perhaps our City Council will exercise some vision and build a facility that supports the needs of current and future locals in our growing community. Reactionary planning and protective politics never work.


stmbtprof 9 years, 9 months ago

raquetball courts? what happened to raquetball courts??? People driveall the way to Craig to play raquetball...Some of us dont play hockey or tennis...let us not keep redoing ourselves catering to the same tourists...and the wealthy..please!!!


madmoores 9 years, 9 months ago

BoulderGrad, Why would it be "embarassing" for Craig to build a rec. center before Steamboat did?


madmoores 9 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for your clarification. Moffat County has also been talking of a rec. center for the past decade but it has never materialized. Yes, Steamboat does have more resources than Craig does due to the tourist industry and can afford more and better. Our financial position is improving however largely due to the oil and gass industry that has set themselves up within our county. A new hospital is becoming a reality with the start of the installation of infrastructure, improvements are being made town-wide to improve the appearance and a new school is being talked about. Things are happening and it should never come down to some sort of contest, but an accomplishment for the good of the people.


retiredinss 9 years, 9 months ago

I strongly suggest that those commenting here obtain copies of the survey done to determine the likelihood that a rec center proposal would garner sufficient voter support. The supporters of the rec center--those that want baby care, those that want a pool, those that want community supported fitness, will be pushing a vigorous campaign to get a positive result in November. If you are not in favor of tax payer supported facility, you will need to get your facts and be just as ardent in your efforts.


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