Steamboat city manager’s offer to let Ride the Rockies cyclists camp at Howelsen gets tepid reaction from council | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat city manager’s offer to let Ride the Rockies cyclists camp at Howelsen gets tepid reaction from council

Liam Myers, who works with the Sherpa Packer, takes a break after setting up camp in a field at the Steamboat Springs High School for a game of "Wiffle Ball" with some of his co-workers Tuesday as the 2011 Ride the Rockies bike tour arrives in Steamboat Springs. The 412-mile bike tour will often call Steamboat Springs home for a few days.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Some Steamboat Springs City Council members aren't thrilled with the idea of allowing thousands of cyclists to camp out at Howelsen Hill for a night or two this summer as they pedal around Colorado.

After raising concerns about the impact the temporary tent city would have on the city's park, some council members were trying to think of other, non-city owned locations where the Ride the Rockies cyclists could stay for the night in Steamboat.

"We want to make sure we're not having people destroy our park," Councilwoman Heather Sloop said Tuesday night. "I'm really squirrelly about us saying ‘yes.’"

Councilwoman Kathi Meyer said she has witnessed issues with trash pickup from the event in the past.

Ride the Rockies riders have historically camped at Steamboat Springs High School when they make the stop in Steamboat. But due to other school sporting events there this year, that location is not available in June when the cyclists are expected to come through.

City Manager Gary Suiter said he thought inviting the cyclists to camp at Howelsen would benefit the city.

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"I thought it would be good to have a couple thousand people downtown to go to the restaurants and bars," he said.

He told the council he also offered to waive rental fees associated with the use of Olympian Hall to accommodate the cyclists.

City codes do not allow anyone to camp on city-owned property. However, there is one exception that allows the city manager to approve camping at Howelsen Hill on a case-by-case basis.

Council President Walter Magill did not share the concerns raised by some of his fellow council members about allowing the cyclists to camp at Howelsen.

"It's going to be fine," he said.

Suiter assured the council the event would have to get a permit, and the city would take steps to ensure organizers took steps to mitigate the impact of the camping.

But he did note the council had a "lukewarm" reaction to the new camping spot.

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

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