Howelsen Hill so nice, the city is master planning it twice | SteamboatToday.com

Howelsen Hill so nice, the city is master planning it twice

Steamboat Springs Nordic combined skier Koby Vargas soars over the crowd during the 2016 Jumpin' and Jammin' event at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs. Hundreds packed into the landing flats and along the jump to watch the event.

— The city of Steamboat Springs is working on yet another master plan for Howelsen Hill less than three years after a draft of a previous master plan was quickly shelved after it created a sense of sticker shock.

So what’s different this time?

Parks and Community Services Director John Overstreet said while the previous master plan focused on the entire Howelsen park complex, including the rodeo grounds and ballfields, the latest effort to create a guiding document for Howelsen will focus only on the ski hill, the lodge and the parking area.

But just like the 2014 master plan project, the latest rendition includes another community open house where residents can share their thoughts about the hill's future. Community members can weigh in on the master plan at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Community Center.

Overstreet thinks the previous master plan, which was conducted in 2014 and 2015, cost the city somewhere between $3,000 to $5,000, which was paid to a design firm to help with a conceptual plan.

The latest master planning effort is also likely to include the services of a design firm.

Back in 2014, the city received 14 pages worth of suggestions, dreams, complaints and compliments about Howelsen when it sent out an online survey that was answered by 600 respondents.

The input ranged from a warning not to make the hill "too fancy" to installing ziplines.

After months of public meetings, the city released a draft of a $31 million master plan that called for such things as a new indoor recreation center, a $6 million renovation of Howelsen Hill Lodge and parking improvements.

The city's Parks and Recreation Commission quickly tabled the draft master plan after several commissioners wondered out loud how such a plan could be funded.

Fast forward to today, and there have been some big developments regarding Howelsen's future.

Steamboat Ski Area is interested in possibly taking over the operations of the ski hill.

Steamboat Today reached out Tuesday to the ski area to gauge how the planned sale of the resort might impact those talks with the city but did not receive a response.

Meanwhile, the city is a few months away from getting some results of a soil study that will give the city a better idea of what it might cost to physically maintain the hill.

The last time the city actually adopted a comprehensive master plan for Howelsen park was back in the early 1990s.

That plan talked about amenities ranging from a swimming pool in the summer to a bobsled and luge track.

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