Share your ideas
To share your ideas about the future of the Space Station gas and Go-Fer Foods convenience store site in downtown Steamboat Springs, contact Jon Sanders of Colorado Group Realty at 870-0552 or jonwsanders@mybro...
Steamboat Springs When landscape designer Lisa Lee Benjamin looks at the fences and abandoned fuel pumps at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, she sees a community gathering spot and green space.
Benjamin is part of a push, backed by Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, to replace the Space Station site with a park. The gas station and Go-Fer Foods convenience store, on a corner lot in downtown Steamboat Springs, have been closed since December 2006.
Benjamin, principal of Evo Design LLC, said she has been mulling the idea since the Space Station shut its doors. She said she has been working on preliminary designs for the 15,000-square-foot property.
"I think as we've expanded, the community is kind of disjointed," she said of Steamboat. "I'm just thinking about how public space can create community. I think that'd be great."
Grand Junction-based Monument Oil owns the Space Station, and its executives couldn't be reached for comment. Buying the property will be tough, Mainstreet Program Manager Tracy Barnett said. She said proponents of the park have yet to meet with Monument's Paul Brown, whose family has owned the site for years.
Fundraising and partnerships with the city will be crucial to paying for the project, Barnett said.
"I think if there's enough people who think it's a good idea, we'll find the money," she said.
In Benjamin's vision, the park would have an amphitheater for events and outdoor movies. She would like to see Butcherknife Creek uncovered; the waterway runs diagonally below the property. Not only would a park create a gathering place in the heart of downtown, but it also would improve the ecology by housing insects and animals, Benjamin said.
She said she plans to work on concepts during the next several weeks.
"I'd like to have it be simple, clean, have it be soft," Benjamin said. "I'm trying to create something that will be able to be used for public space and low maintenance that would add beauty : something that looks good in the winter and the summer. I think that's a challenge here."
Developer Jon Sanders of Colorado Group Realty is working toward the creation of the park. It's just a dream, he said, adding that community funding and grants would be necessary for the project to move forward.
The property has a few issues awaiting resolution, he and Barnett said. The owners must do mitigation work because of the site's history as a gas station, Sanders said.
"The current owners are responsible for the cleanup of it, but really, it's the responsibility of everybody involved," he said. "We don't want it to sit there and rot. As a city and as a community, we need to step up and find an answer for that site."
Barnett, Benjamin and Sanders said community involvement would be crucial. Benjamin said she would like residents to influence the design and discuss what they want in a park.
Sanders said anyone interested in adding ideas to the mix is welcome to give him a ring. Everyone involved so far is donating time and brainpower to the preliminary project.
"For me, it's something I'd like to see done, and it's something I'm doing out of my own ethics," Sanders said. "There's a big vision for downtown, and I think that fits right into that vision."