Rec boards can’t agree on pool | SteamboatToday.com

Rec boards can’t agree on pool

Parks commission wants city pool; Health and Rec wants its own

Dana Strongin

Indoor, outdoor. Here, there.

Two groups that met Wed–nesday to discuss proposals for pools in Steamboat Springs found little common ground.

The Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Associ–ation’s board members met with Steam–boat Springs Parks and Recreation commissioners to discuss the future of recreation in the city; the discussion focused on pools.

The Health and Recreation Association board directs the private, nonprofit organization that runs the recreation center at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue. The commission is a recommending board for the city of Steamboat Springs.

The association has submitted a pre-application for facility expansion and renovation. A pre-application is a preliminary planning process in which the applicant can get feedback on its proposal. The association’s proposal includes creating a new building that would house an indoor lap pool and leisure pools.

At the same time, the community has been discussing the possibility of a city-owned recreation center in Steamboat. Four sites have been identified, including one called Curci Turner off Hilltop Parkway.

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A report by the firm Ballard King & Associates has identified several needs for the center, including a gymnasium and space for youth activities. The report states that if the association doesn’t build an indoor pool, the city should.

On Wednesday, the board and the commission sat together at a table in Centennial Hall, facing maps of both groups’ preliminary plans. Ken Ballard of Ballard King & Associates facilitated the meeting.

The pools, Ballard said, were the most expensive capital and operational elements of both projects.

Commissioner Betsy Kalmeyer said she wanted to know why the association would want an indoor pool when everybody enjoys the center’s outdoor pool.

Association Director Pat Carney said, “We thought long and hard about that.” The conclusion, she said, was that more people would benefit more often from an indoor pool.

“Indoor is best for the most amount of people,” she said, adding that the large hot springs pool would be cooled down in the summer to provide an outdoor pool.

Commissioner Elaine Hays said that she didn’t see how the association’s pool would meet the needs of youths and toddlers.

“The Health and Rec is not really geared for so many activities going on,” Hays said. However, she said, a recreation center that houses the youth spaces as well as the indoor pool would better consolidate activities.

Commissioner Traci Welsh said she wanted to know what would most benefit the community. She asked the board why the Health and Recreation Association would want to build an indoor pool if the city plans to do so, assuming the city’s center doesn’t hurt the association’s business.

Board member Mike Holloran asked Welsh the same question: Why not put the indoor pool at the association’s center? Concerns about parking and access would be addressed through the city’s approval process, he said.

Commissioner Jim Chappell said that he would support the association’s plans if his concerns were addressed. Holloran said he would be willing to address Chappell’s concerns. The two groups did not set a date but will meet soon to discuss concerns and seek solutions.

The Steamboat Springs City Council is set to discuss recreation in Steamboat on May 16. During the meeting, Ballard King will make a presentation on the possibility of a city recreation center, and the council will review the pre-application for the association’s proposed project.

— To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229

or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com.