Steamboat Springs City Council halts disc golf course

Members support open space at Rita Valentine Park; approve Spring Creek work


— 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.”

Council finalists

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.


jk 6 years, 9 months ago

I say we organize a disc golf tournament in RVP. Does anyone have some cones? I wonder if they would come out and tell us we can't use the park??


trump_suit 6 years, 9 months ago

Hmmm, they had permits and approval from the Parks and Rec who manages the park. I smell a lawsuit here.


Kuri 6 years, 9 months ago

Like the queen in Alice in Wonderland, I frequently believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast. But this defies belief. Off with the council's heads!


Scott Ford 6 years, 9 months ago

May I always live in a community that Frisbee golf becomes a land use issue and is the front page news story twice in two weeks. May I always live in a community that City Council spends significant amount of time talking about Frisbee golf.

This is not to minimize the passion folks have on both sides of this issue but keeping it in perspective it would be interesting to contrast what was on the Detroit's City Council meeting agenda last night.


timbone 6 years, 9 months ago

i wonder if there's a law against throwing discs on open public space because if there isn't then you know where to find me. and if there is then maybe we should stop fathers playing catch with their sons or people riding their bikes. maybe the steamboat area disc league should charge 50 bucks a round then maybe city council will be all for it. i think i might go play on the triple crowners field today.


mmjPatient22 6 years, 9 months ago

Scott F.-

Incredible point. I can barely imagine the extent and depth of the issues that might be plagueing the governing body(ies) in places like Baghdad or Beirut. It certainly is entertaining to see the kinds of issues that us Americans get all uppity about, especially in times like these. It seems as though most of the country(or, at least those in power) would much rather be playing a few holes of frisbee golf(or regular golf) rather than devote much brain power towards contemplating the rest of the world's problems or even the serious problems of their own. At least someone's not spouting off illusions of granduer, like this frisbee golf coarse will be good for the economy and create jobs somehow.


Ron Pannesi 6 years, 9 months ago

After wasting HUNDREDS of hours on this project I have two things to say: -Rita Valentine Park is just that - a Park. It is owned by the city not the neighborhood. -What about the proposed meeting on September 7th - what happened to that? Thanks to all for your support.

Ron Pannesi Founder - Steamboat Area Disc League


boater1 6 years, 9 months ago

"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. "

looks like the current city council just threw their hands up in the air and we're not doing anything at all as the group before us decided to do nothing.

way to go city council (save kenny & jon), you've proven you're just slaves to the wealthy landowners of this town and care nothing for the community as a whole. so you just blow off the meeting and this group. keep doing that and you can count on not getting any of the younger local vote. people don't forget.

the veil being portrayed (by the local homeowners in that area) that rita valentine is some sacred animal preserve is thinning. i hope people see this for the farce that it is and even more locals use the park.

i say all the local disc player start using natural landmarks in the park and play there in great numbers. there is nothing illegal about throwing a disc at a tree or rock. create your own landmark for holes map and publish it. obviously the wealthy landowners will use every favor or angle they can to keep permanant holes off this land, but in the end it's public city land so use it!!!

cari, you talk about a breakdown of the system. we'll the breakdown is ulitmately sweeping this group under the table.


boater1 6 years, 9 months ago

jk, that's the spirit. of course someone will come up with some kind of BS about needing a permit for an organized group/tourny, however since it's parks & recs land to manage (& not city councils) they could issue a permit. it happens elsewhere.

or just have a HUGE group for fun play day. nothing organized no prizes. i'm sure if you put the word out to other disc players in the region everyone would love to have a for fun round.

infact i'd love to see everyone who's pissed at what's happening just go all hang out and enjoy the park for a few hours and show city council how many people are paying attention.


Scott Osterhoudt 6 years, 9 months ago

Way to go Steamboat Springs City Council, allowing your own citizens to put in their time and efforts and I'm sure money too, only to be shunned away at the last second without any real discussion.

Being actively involved in the sport for more than 6 years, I have never heard of such things. A disc golf course being bad for the environment.... sounds to me like a group of folks did not want outsiders in their neck of the woods....

This is a link to a video explaining some of the benefits of disc golf in parks.

And I am sure you will not see any environmentally hazardous practices or behaviors. Sure a player may loose a disc that they paid for from time to time, you can bet they will spend a good amount of time trying to find that disc considering the amount of time they pout into learning to throw that disc just right. If they happen to not find the disc, I am sure the amount of trash they picked up on that course already would far outweigh one lost disc.


outwiththeold 6 years, 9 months ago

Lets get a tourney together at rita soon! I got at least ten of my friends that are down! This town is full of pricks. I work for the city at haymaker and you would be suprised what people complain about.


Scott Osterhoudt 6 years, 9 months ago

Play nice guys and girls....

Maybe the local golfers should find a way to get more locals on their side. Donating to local charities, put on disc golf clinics, organize leagues for school age kids....

Stay positive and the results will too!


Scott Wedel 6 years, 9 months ago

But they were playing nice. They went through parks and rec. They did it all themselves and then the City Council decided it was such an emergency that they had to act now instead of at a later meeting as was previously discussed.

Best way to protest around here would be to go to Hayden, set up a cone course someplace there and publicize that they stayed afterward for food and drink at a local restaurant. The only things that scares local government is the idea of business going elsewhere.


mtroach 6 years, 9 months ago

If you goto Boulder and walk in Chataqua (bad spelling) mountain park, they have plently of open space that is undeveloped, and kept that way for a reason. Just because Parks and Rec wants to develop, dosn;t mean that it needs to be done. Doing nothing and protecting open space for it's beauty and quiet natural state is doing something, just not developing it and spending the needed monies on perpetual maintenance of those developments. Leave Rita Valentine untouched so that in ten years our children can see that this valley was not all condos, and mini mansions, but seasonal creekbeds with large trees, lush grass, sagebrush and wildlife. It's my belief that Rita would have wanted it this way.Thanks to Council for just saying no.

As a PS to the disc golfers, didn't you worry when you had a public meeting with P&R and noone gave any public comment? I think that better commmunication with the public could have allowed you to get this done, but when all fo a sudden you are mowing fairways, and planting baskets, people wonder How did this happen? the public should have been better informed from the start so that if the majority wanted it to happen it could have gotten done.

One last question; Isn't Craig Robinson from P&R a disc golfer, and isn't a conflict for him to be involved in this process? Please correct me if I'm mistaken.


Ron Pannesi 6 years, 9 months ago

mtroach - There was no need to worry as there was public comment. I represented the disc golf community and a Group of many people represented the neighborhood. I answered all questions and put owners at ease about the reality of the sport of Disc Golf. A reminder; These two parcels of land were on deck to be developed to include: Skate Park, Rec Center, A Road bisecting the property, Jungle gyms and many other amenities. The reason why a dog park and a disc golf course were approved -BY ALL PARTIES (including the neighborhood) was because they are both Low impact. A disc golf course does not constitute a loss of open space - building "condos and mini mansions" does.

I will state again that people should know the facts regarding this park. I have attended every meeting over the past two years and I was the one who fielded the comments and questions. Im curious about how many of these "anonymous" writers were there. My name is Ron Pannesi and I was there for all to speak to.

I am also someone who put in hundreds of hours and followed the process as it was laid out in front of me. The Rita Valentine Neighborhood coalition had its say and I went forth according to the plans discussed. Which one of the Rita Valentine neighborhood members would like to reimburse me for my time? I volunteer for this and many other civic activities. If my generous donation of time saw a completion to this project than I would be fine with that. But now my work has been disregarded and disrespected by this community (city council). If everyone wants more public discussion, then lets have it. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SEPTEMBER 7TH MEETING????????????? Wait, I know - let the wealthy landowners have their say and then well lock the door behind us as no one else's opinions get heard. I challenge City Council to open up public debate.


Chris Peters 6 years, 9 months ago

I wish my Pamela Ln. neighbors were loaded back in the 90's. We could have had the park we wanted all to ourselves.


mtroach 6 years, 9 months ago

Areminder; P&R wanted to develop Rita, and the plan was shot down. If I'm not mistaken at theP&R meeting that aproved the disc course their was time for public comment, but the record shows no comments were made. that tells me not enough citizens knew about the meeting, or someone would havemade some comment.

Finally, Ron can you tell me if Craig Robinson of P&R is a member of your disc golf organization or is this a rumor? I would have a problem with a major player at P&R being apart of a group lobbing for change to a park. Seems like a direct conflict of interest, sort of like having a member of triple crown's management team working at P&R. Please correct me if I'm wrong, this is something I've heard, but cannot conferm.


Ron Pannesi 6 years, 9 months ago

mtroach, sorry for the late response - I was in Snowmass playing on their 2 courses for their annual tournament this weekend. Craig Robinson is indeed an active player and a member of the club. Chris Wilson and I agreed early on to leave Craig out of the process of design and approval. He was not in attendance for the meetings nor for the walking of the property. We knew that a conflict of interest could be inferred so he was only brought in when his job actually required him to be - when the trail consulting process was taking place. Craig is a great advocate of the sport and I am sure it was difficult for him to be completely out of the process, but it was the right thing to do. I would like to thank Craig for handling himself in such a professional manner while all of this mud slinging is going on.


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