Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission trimmed the most controversial aspects from a conceptual design plan for Rita Valentine Park, which several residents protested at the commission's meeting Wednesday.
A draft conceptual design for the park between Hilltop Parkway and Anglers Drive included long-range plans for a road through the 35-acre property, a facility, a turf field, a second parking lot, a disc golf course, a picnic area, a skate park and a climbing wall.
That angered many neighboring residents and others who cherish the park in its current state, which is completely undeveloped except for trails.
"Many of us in that area find a way to use that beautiful park," said Mary Ann Cutter, who said she runs in Rita Valentine Park. "I'm amazed about what kind of activity there is throughout the day. I don't want any of you to think there's nothing going on there."
At the beginning of the hearing, most of the commissioners said they were OK with the draft plan, stressing that it was conceptual in nature. Director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Chris Wilson said that all ideas received for the park were put into the plan but that they were still several steps removed from being funded or approved.
"It gives us opportunities for the future, but it doesn't set in stone what we're going to do," Commissioner Daniel Brabec said.
The concerned residents, however, were worried that including improvements, even of a conceptual nature, in the plan would create an expectation for their eventual development.
"It's really horrible that we're putting in all this effort to create something we don't want," Al Choy said.
In the end, commissioners unanimously voted to remove all improvements from the plan except additional trails, dog parks, the disc golf course and a buffer zone that would shield neighboring residents from activity within the park.
The conceptual plan also recommends that a neighboring 40-acre city parcel known as the M&H Property be protected as open space by ordinance.
The commission's advisory recommendation will be passed on to the Steamboat Springs City Council.