Ski Town Rec Center?

Consultant says Pine Grove Road site is top choice


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    A local resident listens to a discussion about the possibility of a new recreation center in Steamboat Springs at the Steamboat Mountain Theater on Wednesday. The Dialogue Before Decision forum was hosted by the Leadership Steamboat group.

    On the 'Net

    Learn more about local recreation news on a city-sponsored Web page at: www.steamboatrecr.... Learn about the consultants who recently completed a study of local recreation options at:, and Read "Dialogue Before Decision" articles about recreation issues, created by the 14th annual Leadership Steamboat class, at: www.steamboat-cha...

    — Ski Town Fields would provide the best site for a new recreation center in Steamboat Springs, a consultant hired by the city said Wednesday.

    "That's the area that I think has the most potential," said Chuck Musgrave, of the Denver firm Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, speaking to a crowd of about 50 gathered at Steamboat Mountain Theater to discuss recreation issues. Musgrave said the Ski Town site, adjacent to the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs on Pine Grove Road, offers "great access" from U.S. Highway 40, potential shared parking with the Tennis Center and ample room for a consolidated recreation building with facilities such as a youth and teen center, indoor pool, running track and climbing wall.

    But Musgrave acknowledged booming growth and resulting high demand for construction in the city - what he called "the Steamboat factor" - means a recreation center won't come cheap.

    Building at the Ski Town site would cost an estimated $15.7 million, he said, a number that could rise depending on added facilities. While that price tag is close to the estimated $15.9 million for a recreation center at Rita Valentine Park, between Anglers Drive and Hilltop Parkway, Musgrave noted use of the Rita Valentine site has drawn significant opposition from homeowners in the area, and could also create traffic concerns.

    Musgrave and Chris Dropinski of the Broomfield firm Greenplay, LLC, also presented findings Wednesday about the possible use of sites at Howelsen Hill, Strawberry Park Elementary School and the downtown U.S. Post Office at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue.

    Musgrave said because the city would need to buy land to relocate the post office, and also buy the post office site itself, the cost of a downtown recreation center could reach $42 million. As for Howelsen, Musgrave and Dropinski listed a cost of about $22 million and noted the site's already heavy use, especially during high-traffic afternoon and evening hours.

    "We're not sure we should be adding more to that site," Musgrave said.

    While a gymnasium at Strawberry Park would cost $7 million, Musgrave questioned whether building such a facility is in the best interests of the Steamboat Springs School District.

    Sam Rush, a physical education teacher at Strawberry Park, said the school's current gymnasium - a carpeted concrete floor used for several school functions - is far from adequate.

    "I sometimes have to wait 10 to 15 minutes to get into the gym with kids because they're still cleaning up from lunch," Rush said. "And with the addition we're building, the problems are only going to increase."

    Other attendees at Wednesday's forum expressed concerns about the city's immediate need for expanded youth facilities, questioned the impact a new recreation center could have on local property values and asked whether an expensive new building is needed given Steamboat's existing resources, such as the Old Town Hot Springs and athletic fields at Howelsen Hill and Ski Town.

    Gypsum Town Council member Tom Edwards said Gypsum's $12 million recreation center, which opened in December, already has exceeded membership expectations and more than met needs for local youth.

    Wednesday's forum was hosted by the 14th annual Leadership Steamboat class, which also has published a series of articles in the Steamboat Today to spur local dialogue about recreation issues.

    The consultants began their study in February.

    "We'll be elaborating in a lot more detail at the (Steamboat Springs) City Council meeting May 8," Musgrave said.

    - To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

    or e-mail


    Tom Whiddon 9 years, 11 months ago

    Has anyone Considered the land between Kum-n-go and the Hampten Inn for a recreation center? Add a parking lot and a pedestrian tunnel or bridge over the tracks to Emerald Park. It would help with traffic on Pamela Lane and provide overflow parking during tourneys. It is also a central location. There might be some wetland issues. Just a thought.


    dwahzner 9 years, 11 months ago

    I think the land by Kum & Go is a good idea, but I fear that with the acres needed, it would be too small. A county owned civic center/rec center that could be built south of the Fairfield Inn or behind Staples on the bike path, would be even better! Our schools are over booked and maxed out with community activity, making the regular school uses a challenge. I don't like taxes anymore that the next guy, but I would contribute to a mil levy supporting it. I would use it as well!


    Books 9 years, 11 months ago

    The rodeo grounds are no longer the highest and best use of the land they occupy. They should be moved to west Steamboat and the new recreation center should be built in its place. The existing recreation center should be turned into a world-class spa facility. The new rodeo grounds should be a first class Pro Rodeo facility built on a large parcel with enough room for an indoor arena, livestock pens and room to park needed trailers and campers. The new recreation center should start out with only an aquatic center, and be designed for future expansion as money permits. The existing recreation center has potential to become a destination spa that could rival anything in Europe. The existing building could be remodeled for leaseable space for therapists, chiropractors and other health practitioners. If we did all of this we could put Steamboat on the map in a several big ways and we would no longer need Triple Crown.

    For the rodeo side of this please read the letter to the editor from Sunday, April 1, 2007.

    Judith Harrington: New rodeo needed


    retiredinss 9 years, 11 months ago

    I was at the meeting. Was surprised that so few attended. If you took out the Leadership people, the invited guests / architects / consultants, the CCRC folks and their allies proposing the rec center, and those opposed to putting the rec center on Rita Valentine Park, I would guess that those citizens from the general community, trying to learn more, numbered fewer than ten! Several of the relatively long term Steamboat residents near me made an interesting comment, very revealing of Steamboat itself. They said, the more they thought about it, the more they liked the distributed solution, part at Howelsen, part at the school, maybe part at OTHS, or the ice rink--this eventhough that could cost more. The reason, that solution fits much more a Steamboat style, heritage and culture. Steamboat isn't a place of acres of buildings, parking lots, etc. The consultants and architects completely missed this point, that there is a streamboat way of doing things, that is not the same as say Aspen or Vail, for example. I am guessing that the broader community that didn't attend mirror that feeling too.


    another_local 9 years, 11 months ago

    Books,, if you change the use of the existing hot springs center what would you propose to do with my lifetime membership? Buy me out of it? That center is not a public facility.

    How would that idea replace triple crown exactly and why couldn't you do both?


    another_local 9 years, 11 months ago

    I think the promoters of this idea may be in for a rude shock when the real pricing for building something like this is revealed. I doubt very much that the voters will support another tax espcially with the track record of incompetence in controlling costs we have observed in the most recent projects.


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