Work starts Wednesday on a river restoration project at Dr. Rich Weiss Park on the edge of downtown Steamboat Springs.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Work starts Wednesday on a river restoration project at Dr. Rich Weiss Park on the edge of downtown Steamboat Springs.

Yampa River restoration project begins at Dr. Rich Weiss Park

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— Construction is expected to begin Wednesday on a river restoration project on the edge of downtown Steamboat Springs.

The work is taking place along 210 feet of the Yampa River at the Dr. Rich Weiss Park located next to the Rabbit Ears Motel.

The park is quite popular, especially during the summer months as tubers take to the Yampa. People often will gather at the park’s Hippy Dip, an area where the natural warm water utilized at the Old Town Hot Springs drains into the river.

Craig Robinson, the Howelsen Hill and open space facilities supervisor for the city of Steamboat Springs, said one of the goals of the project is to fix an existing rock wall and its foundation.

“The whole rock wall has been slowly falling into the river,” Robinson said. “We have some safety concerns.”

Existing access points to the river also are in bad shape and eroding. One access point will be built next to the Yampa River Core Trail bridge. Access points also are going in on either side of the Hippy Dip.

Ecological Resource Consultants and Nordic Excavating have been contracted to do the work.

The work is being paid for mainly with a $300,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, which is funded by lottery proceeds. The city committed $15,000 in matching grant funds.

The work at Dr. Rich Weiss Park was identified as a priority in the 2008 Yampa River Structures Master Plan. The plan outlines the rebuilding of some boating structures, the stabilization and vegetation of some banks and the improvement of river access points.

No kayaking water feature improvements are being done as part of the project, but Robinson said the city continues to work closely with the Friends of the Yampa group on future projects.

Once the work is completed at the park, Robinson said, the remaining Great Outdoors Colorado grant money will be used on improvements at the Fournier open space just west of Snow Bowl on the south side of town.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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