Dennis DeMara: Park should be for all |

Dennis DeMara: Park should be for all

Rita Valentine Park should be enjoyed by kids, too, and not just older people walking their dogs and leaving behind dog excrement.

In response to the front page story in the Steamboat Today ("City of Steamboat to revisit what types of recreation should be allowed in Rita Valentine Park," May 7) regarding the bike jump built in Rita Valentine Park, I have a few comments:

First thing I would like to clarify is that the existing jump has been there for more than two years, with no complaints. Now, all of a sudden, it is an issue. Why?

Secondly, the city mentions "liability." Give me a break. Rita Valentine Park Core Trail is an uneven surface, so what about the "liability" walking my dog and stepping into a divot and breaking my ankle? What about the "liability" of all the snow jumps that kids are building throughout the winter for their sleds and inner tubes? What about the "liability" of the ski ramp located on top of the hill near Anglers Court Subdivision? That ramp has been there since I moved to Steamboat in 2000. If "liability" is the concern, the city should post a sign indicating: "Enter city park at your own risk." Or to avoid all "liability," the city could close down all parks to the public. No walking, no sledding, no bikes, etc. Parks are only for viewing from a distance.

Lastly, would you rather have our children be "constructive" by designing, building, testing and working together to create something that they can use? Or would you rather they be "destructive" by painting buildings with graffiti, doing drugs or doing something they shouldn't be doing? If authoritative figures always are stopping kids from doing something that is not posing a hazard to others, kids eventually will end up resenting authority and end up down a destructive path in life.

I really think taxpayer resources (i.e. police stopping by my house, city signs posted with "trail closed," etc.) can be used for more concerning matters than this. We need to re-evaluate what we are doing to our kids by stopping them jumping their bikes. If you kick them off, they will find something else to do that may not be as constructive.

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Rita Valentine Park is 40 acres and should be enjoyed by everyone, young and old. Why is a small bike jump (that has been there for two years) really an issue with so much other space (39.99 acres) available that can be enjoyed by the persons in question with the complaints?

Dennis DeMara

Steamboat Springs

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