Steamboat Springs School Board weighs easement
Planners of bicycle training track near Whistler Park want permission to access district property
August 2, 2011
Steamboat Springs — "It's been a busy couple of weeks," Steamboat Springs' new superintendent told School Board members Tuesday night at his first board meeting. "We're busily getting ready for the start of the school year."
During Brad Meeks' first meeting as superintendent, the board outlined the district's back to school schedule and discussed whether to grant planners of a proposed bicycle training track near Steamboat's Whistler Park access to a dirt trail on district-owned land during the park's construction phase.
Track planner Blair Seymour told the board the park was a "much needed component" of the town's Bike Town USA initiative that would become a place for cyclists to learn basic skills needed to tackle Steamboat's more challenging trails. She said the proposed project on Mount Werner Water District land would be a temporary park that would be kept up for three years.
"To have an environment like this to teach bikers basic skills is going to be positive," she said.
Seymour said the track that would include a dirt course, jump lines and a pump track is in the conceptual phase. She said if the easement from the school district is approved, and the city's Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services department signs off on it later this month, construction on the track could begin in fall.
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But the project has drawn criticism from some residents who live near Whistler Park.
"This proposed bike park is not a good idea," Meadow Lane resident Leslie Hannah told the board. "By granting them the use of your land you will directly impact at least 25 residences with dirt, dust, traffic and noise."
She said the construction of the park also would bring unwanted traffic to her neighborhood.
After also hearing from trail designer Aryeh Copa, who spoke in support of the project, board members said it wasn't their responsibility to decide whether the park should be constructed. Instead, they said their charge was to determine whether it was in the district's best interest to grant the park's planner's permission to use a dirt path on their land while the park is constructed.
"The primary mission of this district is education, and this (easement request) is kind of an accidental thing we've stumbled on," board member Brian Kelly said.
Board members cited the condition of the dirt trail trucks would use during the park's construction, the potential inability for emergency vehicles to access the construction site and a potential increase of bike traffic on their land as concerns they will weigh as they make their decision.
The board is expected to vote on the easement request at a meeting next month.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, Meeks told the board he would like to find out what their prioritized goals are for the district when they meet again next week for a two-day workshop. Meeks' suggested discussion topics for the upcoming retreat include the district's academic achievement, budget, use of technology and the possibility of conducting paperless board meetings.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com