Steamboat Springs City officials Tuesday halted work on a new disc golf course at Rita Valentine Park and made a strong statement against any development of the site in the foreseeable future.
The Steamboat Springs City Council voted, 4-2, in Centennial Hall to not only stop all work on the disc golf course, but also to require any future proposal for development of recreational amenities at Rita Valentine Park to go through a lengthy public process that includes revisiting conceptual plans for the park as a whole. Local disc golf advocates recently have been installing a course at the park, between Anglers Drive and Hilltop Parkway, after support from the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission earlier in the spring. Several City Council members and City Manager Jon Roberts have said that support overstepped the commission’s bounds.
While discussion Tuesday largely focused on whether to hold a public hearing about the disc golf course Sept. 7, City Council ultimately voted to forgo that option and, instead, to support an August 2009 decision of the previous City Council, which voted, 7-0, to indefinitely postpone action on a conceptual plan for development of the park.
Council members Meg Bentley and Walter Magill led the support of that decision.
“I don’t think the reasons that we voted 7-0 in August 2009 have changed,” added City Council President Cari Hermacinski. “I think we’re blessed with an abundance of parks in this community, (and) I think there’s something extremely valid about having this open space.”
Councilmen Kenny Reisman and Jon Quinn cast the two “no” votes.
“We ought to take a look in the future at a disc golf course that’s funded by private dollars,” Quinn said, noting the volunteer or self-funded efforts of the Steamboat Area Disc Golf League and calling Rita Valentine Park “a great location for a Frisbee disc golf course.”
Reisman said Tuesday’s vote was too restrictive for future proposals at Rita Valentine Park, and that it’s “important to restart discussions” about the park’s potential uses.
No one from the local disc golf community spoke publicly Tuesday to support the course. Six residents of the Anglers Drive area spoke against it.
Work on the disc golf course stopped last week and won’t resume. Roberts said as a result of Tuesday’s decision, “everything that’s been placed there to identify either the greens or the tees would be removed.”
Also Tuesday, City Council selected four finalists from a pool of 10 candidates to fill the seat Jim Engelken vacated earlier this month. Council members selected Bart Kounovsky, chief operating officer of Colorado Group Realty, and three members of the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission — Cedar Beauregard, Rich Levy and Kathi Meyer — as the four finalists to fill that vacancy.
City Council narrowed the field in two rounds of voting and discussion. In the first round, council members voted for five of the 10 candidates and eliminated four: Realtor Dave Moloney, who received no votes; Deputy District Attorney Patrick Welsh and businessman John Fielding, who received one vote each; and former Let’s Vote spokesman Tim Rowse, who received two votes, one from Bentley and one from Councilman Scott Myller.
In the second round, council members voted for four of the six remaining candidates. Beauregard and Kounovsky received six votes each, Meyer received five and Levy four. Landscaper Kyle Pietras received two votes, and businessman Kevin Kaminski received one, eliminating those two men.
Council members are slated to interview the finalists and appoint a new member Aug. 3.
In other action
■ City Council unanimously gave initial approval to spend about $240,000 for floodplain improvements along Spring Creek near Fish Creek Falls Road and for a pedestrian underpass beneath that road. That expenditure will return to City Council for a second reading, likely Aug. 3.
■ Honored longtime Steamboat Springs resident and CBS sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist for his numerous philanthropic contributions to the community. Lundquist received a standing ovation in Centennial Hall.
■ Reaffirmed an allocation of $2,000 for an upcoming “responsible hospitality” seminar in Steamboat to help resolve issues between downtown’s growing nighttime economy and concerns raised by downtown residents about issues including noise and trash.
■ Voted unanimously to discuss the possible return of Steamboat’s noon whistle at a future meeting, to allow for more input from downtown businesses and other interested parties.
■ Voted unanimously to allow developers of Steamboat Barn Village to push back by one year their three-year payment schedule for inclusionary zoning fees, with interest charged to the first year’s payment.