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Steamboat Springs Steamboat 700 should someday have a city park that is as compelling as venerable Howelsen Hill in the heart of Old Town Steamboat Springs, Chris Wilson said Tuesday night.
Steamboat 700 represents a new development proposal that would add 700 acres and 2,000 homes to the city during a span of 10 to 20 years. During an open house at Centennial Hall on Tuesday, community leaders and development experts probed some of the important details in the tentative plan.
Wilson is the city's director of parks, open spaces and recreational services. He said a landmark park would help reinforce both the identity of the new community as well as ensure that it is seamlessly absorbed into the larger city.
Don't expect a ski area at the future Steamboat 700 site, Wilson said. However, he said a park in the development should be capable of hosting events like fairs and markets that would lend an identity to the neighborhood.
Wilson added that the Parks and Recreation Commission would take the new master planned development into account in its own master plan.
"We need to make sure, throughout this whole process, that it becomes as forward thinking and as special as Steamboat is now," Wilson said.
Steamboat 700 has just entered the city planning process with many public hearings to follow.
"The area is going to grow. It needs to be done in a thoughtful way," Bud Romberg said. "This is probably the most appropriate area" to absorb that growth.
Romberg is a former city planning commissioner and city councilman.
Bill Fox of Fox Higgins Transportation Group said U.S. Highway 40 west of downtown Steamboat is overdue for improvements, and the Steamboat 700 development could provide the impetus for such work.
In addition to oft-discussed plans to widen the two-lane highway west of 13th Street to four lanes, Fox suggests widening the single block of Lincoln Avenue from 12th to 13th streets to six lanes. That is the one block along Highway 40 that doesn't afford the opportunity for some redundancy via a parallel street. Throughout downtown, Oak and Yampa streets offer an alternative for motorists, Fox pointed out.
"That's the beauty of any grid of streets," he said. "You have some parallel capacity.
Further west, Fox supports the notion of a traffic roundabout to replace the confusing intersection of U.S. 40 and Routt County Road 129 (Elk River Road). The current configuration of that intersection results in disjointed turning movements that slow traffic, he said.
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