Grants would help Steamboat plan Emerald Mountain’s future

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If you go

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Citizens’ Meeting Room at Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Agenda highlights

■ 5 p.m. Education Fund Board update; grant application resolutions; first reading of an ordinance to participate in a coordinated election Nov. 1 with Routt County; second reading of an ordinance to extend SmartWool’s lease at Steamboat Springs Airport; and second reading of an ordinance to ask voters to consider a 0.25 percent sales tax to supplement the winter air service program

■ 7 p.m. Public comment; consideration of a development plan that would allow Steamboat Christian Center to construct an addition; first reading of an ordinance to allow goats in residential areas in city limits; and consideration of a conditional use permit for vendor to sell ice cream from a cart at 655 Yampa St.

— City of Steamboat Springs staff will ask for the City Council’s blessing next week to apply for $35,000 in grant funding to create a master plan for the 586-acre parcel on Emerald Mountain formerly owned by Lyman Orton.

It’s one of three Great Outdoors Colorado grants totaling $265,000 — excluding $111,000 in required matching funds — that staff will ask the city to OK on Tuesday.

Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department Supervisor Craig Robinson said the master plan would guide the Emerald Mountain Partnership’s maintenance and future development of the property.

The city closed on the Orton property for $1.3 million in March. As part of the agreement, the Emerald Mountain Partnership group signed a contract with the city to manage the property through its own fundraising and guidance.

Robinson said recreational uses on the property, now called Emerald Mountain Park, are limited by a Yampa Valley Land Trust conservation easement, a forestry management plan and a land-use plan.

He said permissible uses include nonmotorized activities like snowshoeing and Nordic skiing in the winter and hiking and biking in the summer.

Emerald Mountain Partnership President Dan Smilkstein said the master planning process would bring different user groups together to plan the park’s future to avoid issues like trail building without formal approval.

Smilkstein said it’s important to do it right.

“At this point here, our hope is this will meet the four-season needs of the community and visitors,” he said.

Smilkstein said development ideas include adding moderate or easy singletrack mountain biking trials and expanding the Nordic skiing area.

Robinson said if the city didn’t receive the GOCo grant funding, future discussions would determine how the plan would get done.

“There is a need for the plan to happen,” he said.

The Emerald Mountain Park master plan grant would require $15,000 in matching funds that would come from the city’s 2012 Capital Improvements Plan budget.

The other grants — $200,000 for snowmaking and $30,000 for a magic carpet at Howelsen Hill — would require an additional $96,000 in matching funds. Those funds would be private funds and conservation trust dollars.

Robinson said the grants would allow the city to increase the volume of water pumped on the hill to make snow and replace the magic carpet in the beginner ski area at Howelsen. Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. donated the existing magic carpet about 10 years ago.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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