Hikers descend on a trail in Rita Valentine Park. The city's Parks and Recreation Commission has been tasked with making recommendations for the future use of the park that remains undeveloped.

Scott Franz/File

Hikers descend on a trail in Rita Valentine Park. The city's Parks and Recreation Commission has been tasked with making recommendations for the future use of the park that remains undeveloped.

City of Steamboat to revisit what types of recreation should be allowed in Rita Valentine Park


— Whoever built those unauthorized bike jumps in Rita Valentine Park probably will have something to say at the new round of public meetings that soon will be scheduled to discuss the park's future.

Reader poll

What would you like to see be incorporated at Rita Valentine Park?

  • Disc golf course 16%
  • More opportunities for fitness activities, such as biking, running and walking trails 8%
  • A designated off-leash dog park 13%
  • Community gathering spaces with picnic areas 3%
  • Nature observation opportunities 3%
  • Skate park and climbing wall 3%
  • Playground 1%
  • Leave it as is 52%

474 total votes.

And so will the neighbors who called the city to report the bike jumps were there.

The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday night voted unanimously to once again have the city look into what types of recreational uses should be allowed in the large 40-acre park that remains undeveloped aside from a series of social trails.

The council tasked its volunteer Parks and Recreation Commission with reviewing past plans for the park and recommending what types of recreation should be allowed there in the future.

“I think it's a great opportunity to bring it back to the public,” Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department Director John Overstreet said after council gave the city the go ahead to revisit the use of Rita Valentine.

Some council members have said they've wanted to revisit plans for the park in recent months, but the latest unauthorized bike jumps and the liability concerns that surround them helped to spur Tuesday's vote by the council.

Some council members, including Walter Magill, have suggested Rita Valentine could be opened to new recreational uses that aren't being accommodated in other parks in Steamboat.

He said Tuesday he'd like to see the parks and recreation commission consider whether there should be new additions at the park ranging from disc golf to basketball courts.

The last conceptual plan for Rita Valentine was drawn up in 2009 but was tabled indefinitely by the City Council. It included the possibility of such things as a disc golf course, parking areas and a dog park.

The Rita Valentine Park site lies right next to a 35-acre parcel called the M&H property.

The park was gifted to city in 1985.

The last time recreational uses at the park were explored, the city heard both strong support for new recreational amenities in the park and strong opposition from neighbors and other community members who wanted to leave the park the way it is.

Community opposition also led to the removal of a disc golf course that had been staked out at the park.

A survey of community members included in the 2009 conceptual plan for the park found it was hard to identify a clear public consensus on the park's future.

“The survey results while informative do not clearly point to a particular course of action for the Rita Valentine site,” the plan reads. “On the one hand, there is clear support for 'open space' and 'natural areas.' On the other hand, people also want parks with active recreation opportunities close to home.”

A survey done at the time found that 88 percent of respondents felt the city's current parks were meeting their needs, but acknowledged more would be needed as the city grew.

“All of this indicates that, as Steamboat Springs' only major undeveloped public land in this part of the city, the Rita Valentine and M & H Property sites need to serve a complex blend of public needs and desires now and in the future,” the plan reads.

Last year, the city explored the possibility of building a new police station on a small corner of the park but stopped pursuing the idea after it faced strong criticism from the community.

What types of recreational uses should be allowed in Rita Valentine Park? Leave a comment below.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Rita Valentine Park conceptual plan

Rita Valentine Conceptual Plan


Neil O'Keeffe 2 years, 11 months ago

"Release the hounds", prepare for the onslaught of the self entitled NIMBY neighbors that have somehow managed to keep this virtually a private park.


Kathy Connell 2 years, 11 months ago

Seeing the amount of people who bring their dogs to exercise in this park. I hope that City Council gives thoughtful consideration to how important this recreational area is for out dogs. Certainly shared uses can be planned ,but please, not to the detriment of this very needed dog park. Kathy Connell


tom bedell 2 years, 11 months ago

The city of Steamboat Springs has in excess of 20 developed parks (with more coming on Yampa st.) many of which sit almost unused yet cost taxpayers to maintain. Numerous surveys have shown that open-space preservation is supported by a majority of citizens. The parks and rec master plan itself mentions open-space preservation as a high priority by citizens at least a dozen times throughout the document. Yet this information seems largely ignored by council. I contend that in its current state RVP is one of the most utilized parks in Steamboat year round. To change RVP from a popular highly utilized open-space park to another developed park that costs taxpayers additional money to maintain doesn't make sense. I think its time for the city to adopt a long term open-space management plan in regards to not just RVP but all our remaining undeveloped open-spaces.


Cresean Sterne 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm glad you said that Tom. We have multiple parks in Stmbt. Maybe the most per capita in the area. Its a big concern when we see our open spaces swallowed up to development and yet what little is left is under cosideration for development. I get the feeling that most of the community would like the park stay as an open space park (all natural). Stmbt is more populated and needs to hang on to some of the last great land assets here. The bike jumps should have been torn down the second they were found. Its disrespecctful and not permitted to build something on property that belongs to the community without any sort of permission.

IMO, RVP once again needs to be left alone and the city should focus on matters that need attention and oversight (the recycling nightmare that has come to light in the area) is one great example.

Whats next, developing the open space at Priest Creek. If we dont come together as a community and take Stmbt back, thats exactly what will happen


Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

But taking out the frisbee golf course made little sense. Frisbee golf is compatible with a mostly open space park. Would need to move holes around a little so one area doesn't get trampled into dust, but it should be easy to come up with a movable platforms around holes to control that issue.


Cresean Sterne 2 years, 11 months ago

Stmbt is a resort ski town and could use a real frisbee golf course. Seems like a good spot and large enough to keep the open space atmosphere. I know that last time is wasnt peceived well by property owners in the area and removed. Not sure if there was a parking issue or maybe property owners wanted theire quiet area kept quiet. Still needs to remain an off leashe dog space also.


Garrett Branson 2 years, 11 months ago

I seriously doubt that the middle and high school aged kids that built the jumps will make it to the city council meeting. It's probably best if they just stay home and play video games.

The irresponsible dog owners are the real problem at the park.


John St Pierre 2 years, 11 months ago

perhaps the pilot should do a story on what was RITA"S INTENT when she and her family gifted the property.. even maybe if she attached strings to it...

I suspect there was a lot more than "here Steamboat, here's 40 acres".......


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