Steamboat Springs Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports is in the early stages of a fundraising campaign to pay for construction of a 42-bed ranch facility and organization hub along U.S. Highway 40, just outside Steamboat Springs’ eastern edge.
The $5.5 million facility will provide lodging for STARS camps guests, accommodate the organization’s equine therapy programs and potentially offer a handful of new summer programs, such as archery and a ropes course. STARS administrative offices will also be moved on-site.
“We have been looking at the long-term growth of STARS, and we don’t really have a hub,” said executive director Julie Taulman. “We don’t have a home base.”
The organization purchased a seven-acre lot adjacent to the D Bar K Storage on U.S. 40 in January and went through the county planning process to get a conditional use permit for the site.
Taulman said the envisioned 15,000-square-foot building would have room for group meetings, include a commercial camp-style kitchen and have mostly dorm-style double occupancy rooms and a few family suites.
She said the lodging would be understated but provide lots of accessible rooms for people with disabilities in the same location, allowing camp guests to stay together, rather than being spread out across units at various lodging near the mountain.
The majority of the outdoor activities on the ranch will take place during the spring and summer, but Taulman said the ranch would be busy in winter with guests participating in on-mountain programs and then staying at the ranch.
Taulman said she imagines the ranch as a welcoming community space that will draw new people to Steamboat and keep others coming back.
"It will be a very simple building, that's very usable and community oriented," she said.
Taulman said the ranch is a logical next step for the growing STARS organization, which now operates on an $800,000 annual budget and continues to increase the number of people served.
“We are growing quickly,” Taulman said.
The new facility will be further east than the handful of hotels along U.S. 40 in the area, and Taulman envisions the ranch as the first thing people will see when they’re entering Steamboat.
“I’m really proud that this is what people will see when they come into our community,” Taulman said.
In the future, Taulman hopes an accessible ropes course and archery range at the ranch will be used by other community groups.
STARS is just beginning a fundraising campaign for the project, and has had a positive response from potential donors so far, Taulman said.
If the $5.5 million goal is raised in time, Taulman hopes construction on the ranch will begin next spring, though work may have to be done in phases based on funding, she said.
“That will be our goal,” she said. “And I believe very strongly we have the ability to get this done in our community,” she said.
For more information about the STARS Ranch or to donate to the project, contact Taulman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-870-1950.
To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow