More than one place to play

Recreation consultants might recommend several sites



Linda Heesch, left, Emily Gold and Sabra Severinghaus work out at the Old Town Hot Springs facility in downtown Thursday. Consultants plan to present their findings about the city's recreation needs and recommendations about how to improve facilities to the City Council next month.

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— Consultants hired to create a clear picture of Steamboat Springs' recreation needs could present city officials with a complex choice.

Chuck Musgrave of Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture of Denver said Thursday that recommendations about how to improve recreation facilities in Steamboat could involve more than one option - and more than one site - for a new or expanded recreation facility. Barker Rinker Seacat staff began working with consultants from Greenplay, LLC, of Broomfield, in January and plan to present their findings to the Steamboat Springs City Council next month.

After hearing comments from residents during forums Wednesday and Thursday, Musgrave emphasized that consultants' findings could include multiple options and could ultimately require the City Council to choose the size, cost and features of a new recreation facility.

"I think we've heard pluses and minuses about all the sites," Musgrave said. "There are a lot of good opportunities out there, and right now they're all equal. The recommendation might be more than one site."

The City Council is planning a work session to discuss recreation issues on either April 10 or April 24.

Musgrave and Craig Bouck of Barker Rinker Seacat said a multi-site recommendation would fulfill the job consultants were asked to complete, because they cannot tell the City Council how much to spend.

"There may be one solution that costs significantly more than the other," Bouck said. "Each solution will have strong implications, but each will be viable."

Musgrave said the list of potential recreation center sites includes Howelsen Hill, the U.S. Post Office site at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue, Memorial Park near Steamboat Springs High School, and the controversial Curci-Turner site off Hilltop Parkway. There also are two potential sites near The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

The consultants will examine all the sites during the next several weeks.

At the same time, John Barnholt of Greenplay will explore funding sources for a new center. But Barnholt and Bouck said their recommendations to the City Council in April will focus more on ideas than specifics.

"We're not going to get past bubble diagrams," Bouck said about designs for a possible center.

While Musgrave and Bouck emphasized that consultants are building on work done by previous recreation consultants hired by the city as far back as 1999, the meetings this week provided an open discussion of all options previously introduced.

"These (meetings) sort of rekindled everyone's issues," Bouck said. "Everything is on the table."

Consultants said community members at forums this week consistently raised issues about expanding youth facilities and taking a conscientious approach to the use of open space.

"People are really concerned that whatever we do, we're maximizing the opportunity," Bouck said.

Also Thursday, members of the 2006-07 Leadership Steam-boat class, sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, announced a series of 10 articles about recreation center issues that will appear in the Steamboat Today on Mondays and culminate in a public forum May 9.

The series of articles begins Monday.


another_local 10 years, 2 months ago

I would like to know the aggregate total of funds paid by the city to consultants of all types during the last few years.


steamvent 10 years, 2 months ago

It would be helpful to know what we are spending for what seems to be a lot of Boulder/Front Range bent advice. When we are asked to vote on funding ballot issues, the money spent on consultants to get to that point gets swept under the rug. Also, the long term cost of operating and maintaining these amenities gets little mention, if any. And what of the City's burden on housing caused by the construction, maintenance and staffing of these amenities? If they were playing by the same rules as developers, they'd have to conform to parking and housing linkage requirements. When we vote for these things, the price tag is much higher than appears on the ballot.


Scott Wedel 10 years, 2 months ago

The money spent for consultants might be worth it if any of their cost estimates were reasonably accurate. But the pattern of the chosen solution costing 50% or more of the estimate is ridiculous.

And no one has ever been held accountable for the cost overruns. It always gets blamed on higher than expected building costs in the mountains is if no one realized the project was in a mountain resort town until they break ground on the project.


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