Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Steamboat Springs A bike park will not be built on Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District land between Whistler Park and Walton Creek after the water district’s board of directors last week decided to table their upcoming vote on the project.
The decision ended a lengthy approval process for the park that began in August and required that the park earn the blessings of a number of different public bodies.
Water District General Manager Jay Gallagher said Tuesday his board came to the conclusion the property was not an acceptable location for the project that would have included jumps and a pump track.
“The planners didn’t have their ducks in a row, and the board reaffirmed their desire not to vote on it until it had earned the blessing of the city,” Gallagher said.
The city of Steamboat Springs’ Parks and Recreation Commission last month tabled a vote on whether the city should assume liability for the park. Commission Chairman Jack Trautman said after the meeting that his board didn’t have a decision to make until the project was approved by the Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, which was being asked to allow the temporary park to be built on its land.
The park also was met with opposition from a group of Whistler Park residents who said its construction could have harmed area wildlife and brought unwanted traffic to their neighborhood.
In a letter to the Routt County Planning Department and the City of Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Department, Steamboat Springs District Wildlife Manager Danielle Domson said the proposed site near Whistler Park provides “an important wildlife habitat as well as a migration corridor for many species” that includes beaver, mink, skunk, red fox and blue heron.
In the letter, Domson said the main concern of Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff about the park was the “removal and fragmentation of existing wildlife habitat for a short term (three year) public benefit of a bicycle terrain park.”
The proposed bicycle park would have been removed after three years of operation because Mount Werner Water indicated it would only be allowed to operate as a temporary fixture until a more permanent site was located.
Park planner Blair Seymour said Tuesday she and other supporters now will devote their time to securing a more suitable and permanent location for their project.
Seymour and members of the Parks and Recreation Commission last month toured two potential city-owned sites for the project that include plots near the Bear River Skate Park and Howelsen Hill.