Core Trail extensions? Tube tax? Steamboat seeks input on new plan for city’s parks and rec amenities | SteamboatToday.com

Core Trail extensions? Tube tax? Steamboat seeks input on new plan for city’s parks and rec amenities

Anne Reed walks her dog Joe over a snow-covered pedestrian bridge along the Yampa River Core Trail.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A new master plan the city of Steamboat Springs is starting to draft could someday have significant impacts on park users ranging from tubers to softball players to joggers and cyclists on the Yampa River Core Trail.

The $150,000 plan will outline a 10-year vision for the vast portfolio of the city's parks, recreation, open space, river and trails.

It will also aim to answer more specific questions like whether the city should change any regulations on tubing in the Yampa River and whether the Core Trail should be extended to the west and south.

Other topics floated in recent years by parks and recreation commissioners include the prospect of a new tax on the sale of tubes in the city to generate revenue for extra enforcement on the busy Yampa and an alternative funding source for the city’s park system.

While any proposal on these topics would have to get approved by the City Council, the new master plan will help the city make future spending decisions on parks and rec amenities.

Other potential topics to be addressed include looking at whether some softball fields at Howelsen Hill should be removed to make room for other amenities, and how certain sections of the Yampa should be managed.

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Community members can weigh in on these topics and more at an open house that starts 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

The event runs until 7:30 p.m.

"We look forward to having our consultant team and the public give us input to help shape the future," Parks and Community Services Director John Overstreet said.

Overstreet said master plans for the city's parks and recreation system are becoming dated, and the city has historically done master plans for the Yampa River and specific parks separately and not in conjunction with one another.

The latest master plan aims to take a system-wide look at the city's recreation amenities and facilities and outline a plan for the next decade, as well as how to fund and execute the vision.

"We want to look at the whole parks, open space and trails system, and see what people want to do in the future with these assets," Overstreet said.

The city is also taking a look at the future of its recreation programs and will analyze the fee structures for them.

Thursday's open house is meant to be casual, Overstreet said, and attendees will not need to stand up in front of an audience to have their voices heard.

The master plan is being paid for with a combination of city funds and a $75,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.

Overstreet said the current timeline has the master plan being completed sometime in July.

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

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