West Steamboat housing developers eyed as possible partners for much-needed trail connections
April 18, 2017
Steamboat Springs — New neighborhoods being planned in west Steamboat Springs could include a meadow for dogs, a cycling skills park and even a bouldering wall.
But it's trail connections and a pedestrian underpass on U.S. Highway 40 that some Steamboat Springs City Council members are hoping for the most.
City Council President Walter Magill said Tuesday some west Steamboat residents currently have to play a game of Frogger with children to cross the busy highway and reach the city's paved riverside trail system.
Magill thinks Brynn Grey, the developers trying to build 450 new housing units on the former Steamboat 700 site, could be a potential financial partner in creating new trail connections and a highway underpass that would better connect the west end of Steamboat to the Core Trail.
"It just seems like we're really underserving those residents of Routt County" by not having more trail connections, Magill said Tuesday.
Magill added he considers the outlying neighborhoods such as Steamboat II, Silver Spur and Heritage Park to be a part of the community, and he'd like for those residents to be able to walk and cycle safely into town.
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The need for more trail connections in the area was a topic of discussion earlier this month when the developers pitched their park and trail plans to the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission.
Where Magill lives on the east end of town, he noted he can easily bike five miles on paved city trails that zip under highways.
Why shouldn't people on the west end of town have the same type of trail network?
Routt County residents have, since 2015, been able to utilize a new, 1.5-mile dirt trail connecting Routt County Road 42 to Gloria Gossard Parkway in the city limits.
But the trail is billed as temporary and relies on easements from three private property owners.
"I'd really like to see some of the efforts in partnering with us and Routt County to connect all these neighborhoods," Magill said.
Alluding to high costs placed on the developers of the former Steamboat 700 project, Magill cautioned that he doesn't want to "crush" the latest housing proposal with infrastructure requirements.
But he suggested a financial contribution from the developers for trail connections and possibly a pedestrian underpass on the west end of town would greatly benefit the public, and the project.
West Steamboat residents will start to see some cycling and pedestrian-related improvements this summer.
The city has partnered with the Colorado Department of Transportation to install new sidewalks from Shield Drive to Riverside Plaza.
The Core Trail currently ends at Bear River Skate Park behind the Routt County Justice Center.
Earlier this month, representatives from Brynn Grey outlined their conceptual plans for parks and recreation amenities in the proposed housing development, which sits adjacent to Routt County Road 42.
About 81 acres of the 151-acre development would be open space.
The developers suggested Great Outdoors Colorado Funding could also be obtained for trail connections in the area.