Nick Mathews, 14, returns a volley while playing on the tennis courts owned by the Old Town Hot Springs.

Photo by John F. Russell

Nick Mathews, 14, returns a volley while playing on the tennis courts owned by the Old Town Hot Springs.

Flood work on table for Steamboat Springs City Council tonight

Proposed improvements would remove tennis court, add underpass downtown



Nick Mathews, 14, returns a volley while playing on the tennis courts owned by the Old Town Hot Springs. Proposed improvements to Spring Creek’s floodplain could remove a tennis court in order to add an underpass in downtown Steamboat Springs.


Proposed improvements to Spring Creek’s floodplain could remove a tennis court from the Old Town Hot Springs, shown here, in order to add an underpass in downtown Steamboat Springs.

On the agenda

■ 5 p.m. Proclamation honoring longtime Steamboat Springs resident and CBS sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist, who recently turned 70; update from Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, including efforts to mitigate issues between nighttime economy and downtown residents; discussion and possible action on proposed disc golf course at Rita Valentine Park; review of 10 candidates for vacant City Council seat, and selection of finalists; mid-year financial report from city Finance Director Debra Hinsvark, with 2011 outlook

■ 7 p.m. Public comment; review of progress on goals stated during Dec. 2009 City Council retreat; first reading of ordinance that would allocate more than $216,000 for floodplain improvements along Spring Creek and construction of pedestrian underpass at Fish Creek Falls Road, to Old Town Hot Springs; motion addressing medical marijuana dispensaries’ request for off-site grow locations to comply with new state laws

If you go

What: Meeting of the Steamboat Springs City Council

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Contact: Call City Hall at 970-879-2060 or visit http://steamboats... for more information.

— Proposed improvements to Spring Creek’s floodplain would remove a tennis court and add a pedestrian underpass this fall at Fish Creek Falls Road near Third Street and Old Town Hot Springs.

The Steamboat Springs City Council tonight will give initial consideration to allocating more than $216,000 for the work, which would culminate multi-year floodplain improvement efforts along Spring Creek and fulfill existing obligations between the city and developers of the proposed Riverwalk project across Lincoln Avenue downtown.

Tonight’s City Council meeting also includes possible action related to the new disc golf course at Rita Valentine Park, the selection of finalists for the vacant City Council seat and a mid-year report on city finances. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in Centennial Hall.

The city already has more than $81,000 budgeted in 2010 for Spring Creek floodplain work, which includes the removal of a Third Street tennis court — the court closest to the creek — owned by Old Town Hot Springs. The two other courts there will remain. City Public Works Director Philo Shelton said removing the court and raising the grade of the land will meet 100-year floodplain regulations and improve utilization of existing culverts. Water from a flooding Spring Creek currently could flow onto Third Street, Oak Street and potentially across Lincoln Avenue to Riverwalk’s future site, Shelton said.

Old Town Hot Springs’ board of directors has agreed to the tennis court removal and is contributing $100,000 to construction of the pedestrian underpass beneath Fish Creek Falls Road. City Manager Jon Roberts said that contribution spurred the desire to move forward quickly with the improvements and underpass.

“My strong recommendation to council would be to appropriate additional funds and put the pedestrian underpass in at the same time,” Roberts said. “Our intent would be to get that project bid, awarded and completed this fall.”

Shelton said the underpass would look somewhat like the Yampa River Core Trail underpass near Ninth Street and Howelsen Hill.

Riverwalk developers contributed $175,000 to the city’s floodplain improvements in 2008. The city hired Landmark Consultants that year to design the improvements and associated underpass.

“The city already obligated itself,” Roberts said about allocating significant funding during a time of tight city budgets and employee furloughs. “There is an approved, in-place agreement between the city and Riverwalk to install the floodway improvements and the underpass.”

Disc golf work halted

Tonight’s council agenda also includes discussion of “affirming the policy decided in August 2009 of maintaining passive open space only in the (Rita Valentine) Park until further action of City Council.”

The park between Anglers Drive and Hilltop Parkway, where residents long have debated the preservation of open space versus the development of recreational amenities, made headlines again recently after the initial development of a new disc golf course. The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission finalized plans for the course in a public process this spring. But some neighbors have since raised objections, and last week, City Council President Cari Hermacinski said the commission’s actions led to a “breakdown in the process” by overturning an August 2009 decision of the previous City Council to indefinitely postpone action on conceptual plans for amenities at the park.

Roberts said he told Chris

Wil­son, director of the city’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Depart­ment, on Thurs­day to stop development of the course.

“All work has been stopped and will remain that way until we receive direction from City Council” tonight, Roberts said.

Supporters of the course have said disc golf has minimal impacts on the environment, many park neighbors supported the course’s creation, and the public had ample notice and time to comment.

“I may be in the minority on this one, but I do want to see some additional amenities at Rita Valentine in the long run,” Councilman Jon Quinn said Monday. “I think a disc golf course is an appropriate use. It’s a low-impact use compared to some of the other alternatives.”

Quinn also said, though, that he thinks the commission “overstepped its bounds” by not bringing the proposed course to City Council.

Narrowing the field

Also tonight, City Council will select finalists from the 10 candidates who have applied for the City Council seat vacated earlier this month by Jim Engelken, who is moving with his family to the Front Range.

The applicants include Steam­­­boat Springs Planning Comm­ission members Cedar Beauregard, Rich Levy and Kathi Meyer; businessman John Fielding; beverage distributor and former Councilman Kevin Kaminski; Realtors Bart Kounovsky and Dave Moloney; landscaper Kyle Pietras; former Let’s Vote spokesman Tim Rowse; and Deputy District Attorney Patrick Welsh.

Quinn said council members publicly will discuss the selection process and candidates before voting for finalists.

Steamboat’s city charter req­uires the council to appoint a candidate at its Aug. 3 meeting. Hermacinski has said the new member likely won’t begin service until Sept. 7.


jk 6 years, 9 months ago

So we tore down affordable housing, that survived in that floodplain for years, to build tennis courts. And now we are tearing down the tennis courts to build a tunnel through the same floodplain, in order to help a developer who tore down more affordable housing leaving behind a blank useless lot. Not to mention with plans to build his new development in a worse floodplain with help from our tax dollars.

Also we tout ourselves as a healthy recreation town, Yet city council shuts down the progress of a disc golf course so a few high and mighties can watch foxes and skunks frolic through the grass.

God I Love This Town!!!


Jeff_Kibler 6 years, 9 months ago

LOL, same initials.

Excellent summary of the current state of affairs.


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