Steamboat City Council to weigh in on dog park plan Tuesday night | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat City Council to weigh in on dog park plan Tuesday night

John Waldman plays a game of fetch with Luna in Rita Valentine Park.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The future of a Steamboat Springs park that several user groups and governments have tried to lay claim to over the years could finally become clear next week.

The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday will decide whether to endorse a plan to build an improved off-leash dog park in Rita Valentine Park.

Dog advocates want to enlarge the parking lot and add new benches, shading trees, water fountains and compostable dog poop bag stations in the park.

The plans also call for new trails within the park as well as connecting trails hikers and cyclists could use.

The city's Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously endorsed the first phase of the conceptual dog park plan earlier this year. But members of Steamboat Digs Dogs have felt leashed while they've waited for the council to also approve it.

"We're getting ready to apply for grants, but we're kind of stuck until we get some approvals for the concepts" from the council, Steamboat Digs Dogs spokeswoman Kathy Connell said Friday. "Now is the time to get it done. We're enthused."

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Connell said the group also has several donors lined up ready to pitch in money and labor to make the improved dog park a reality.

Steamboat Digs Dogs has agreed to fund and maintain the park improvements with private donations and contributions.

The group recently set up an endowment fund to help fund the dog park vision.

If council approves the concept on Tuesday, Connell said the group would start working on designs for the larger parking lot at the park.

Construction of the new amenities at the dog park would then start in the spring.

While Steamboat Digs Dogs has gained support from the parks and rec commission for the first phase, the commission was not on board with a proposal to put fencing around the dog park.

Steamboat Digs Dogs would have to get approval for later phases of the park as the plans develop.

The dog park proposal is the ninth item on the council's Tuesday night agenda.

The meeting starts at 5 p.m. in Citizens Hall.

Before the dog advocates proposed their park improvements, parts of the park off nestled between Hilltop Parkway and Anglers Drive have been sought after by disc golf players, golfers, the Steamboat Springs School District and the city government itself.

The city’s proposal in 2013 to build a police station on a corner of the park was quickly shelved after it faced intense community opposition.

Prior to that, the park was eyed as a place for a new school or an executive golf course.

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

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