Jack Trautman: Now is the time for action

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With my recent resignation as chairman of the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission, I want to take this opportunity to thank the current Steamboat Springs City Council for its support. Scott Ford, in particular, has taken parks and rec under his wing and has been a great mentor and adviser to the entire commission. John Overstreet is a strong leader for the parks and recreation department, and I left the commission knowing it remains a very competent team that will carry on in fine fashion. Thanks to all for giving me an opportunity to contribute during the past five-plus years.

I also want to thank all of the passionate homeowners near Rita Valentine Park who kept the park undeveloped for so many years. Ultimately, your powerful input led to the commission’s recommendation to kill the 2009 Rita Valentine Park Conceptual Plan, to which the City Council agreed.

Rita Valentine Park currently is zoned by ordinance as parkland. Those surrounding the park want it zoned as open space. Since the Park is completely undeveloped, it is easy for the City Council to consider re-zoning. The city wouldn’t consider re-zoning developed parks like the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, Howelsen Ice Arena, rodeo grounds or even Emerald Park. But undeveloped parkland is ripe for re-zoning.

Great idea! Let’s re-zone Rita Valentine Park. However, even though I am probably the most ardent supporter of all things parks, recreation, open space and trails, I firmly believe the city has a much higher priority for this parcel than open space.

One of our biggest needs as a community is affordable housing. Who in this community would put additional open space ahead of affordable housing? We have plenty of open space, trails and parks. We have little affordable housing.

With Rita Valentine completely undeveloped and strong input from citizens for re-zoning it, the City Council has a unique opportunity: Zone it for affordable housing, set aside 3 acres for a dog park and insist that the developer designs, installs and maintains trails within the development (like the Sanctuary Trail).

City Council, now is the time for you to take bold action — action that wouldn’t have been possible had Rita Valentine Park been developed. Seize this unique opportunity to address one of Steamboat’s most pressing needs, namely affordable housing. I am confident you will get strong community support.

Jack Trautman

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Mark Ruckman 1 month, 1 week ago

If we want ideas to push the envelope how about selling the land for development and using the funds to buy cheaper land and have seed $ to begin building a large apartment complex for affordable housing.

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Scott Wedel 1 month, 1 week ago

Where has affordable housing programs ever worked in anything similar to an exclusive market such as SB?

Affordable housing programs typically fail to either produce affordable housing (such as SB where the "affordable" units in Wildhorse and other developments found no buyers able to afford the "affordable housing") or create units that are long term occupied by people that are not moving on and letting new people move in.

How about finding an affordable housing program that it's advocates are willing to claim is working well and seeing it can plausibly be adapted to SB's market?

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Dan Hill 1 month, 1 week ago

Jack, don't go walking up there. The local residents who think the park belongs to them might string you up!

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Ken Mauldin 1 month, 1 week ago

I didn't realize there was a residential zoning category of "affordable" that could be utilized to impact home prices. If the City Council can wave its magic wand and make housing "affordable" (whatever that means) then it should logically start with Old Town where prices are the highest, and hence, the most "unaffordable."

On a more serious note, zoning the park for high density residential would forever change the dynamic of our small town and there's zero reason to believe it would result in "affordable" housing, long term, without rent controls or subsidy from the city.

Try as we might, we can't impose our view of "affordable" on anything without assuming that central planning is more efficient than free markets.

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Pat West 1 month, 1 week ago

I encourage everyone with desires to see anything done to Rita Valentine park to engage into the process and voice their opinions to city council so that we as a community can finally decide the future of this parkland. I'm not in favor of Jack's affordable housing idea, but in our democracy, everyone has a right to their opinion, and the majority ideas decide our future.

I'm in support of leaving the land untouched, aside from fixing the "social" trails that exist already so that they are maintainable, and sustainable, and so everyone can enjoy this great slice of wild land within our busy little town for years to come.

I hope the City Council will finally take the steps necessary to allow the public to decide, and establish a plan for this parkland.

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