Steamboat Parks and Rec commission agrees to revisit Yampa River Queen decision as petition to save playground nets 1K signatures | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Parks and Rec commission agrees to revisit Yampa River Queen decision as petition to save playground nets 1K signatures

Parks supervisor Ernie Jenkins said the Yampa River Queen was built sometime in the 1980s at West Lincoln Park.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — More than 1,000 people have now signed an online petition asking the city to spare the Yampa River Queen playground in Steamboat Springs.

The iconic playground built to resemble a steamboat also now has a date with destiny at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 13  in Citizens Hall.

That's when the city's parks and recreation commission has agreed to hold a new hearing to discuss what the city should do with the structure as it prepares to build a new playground in West Lincoln Park.

"Obviously, we would like to see the Yampa River Queen restored," Save the Yampa River Queen campaign co-founder Meghan McNamara said this week. "However, there has been a lot of talk that the Queen cannot be saved. If that is the case we are working on plans to build a new Yampa River Queen integrating (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements and some of the elements in the proposed design by the Steamboat Springs Arts Council."

"We want the playground to remain both a boat and a playground for the children and families of the Yampa Valley," McNamara continued.

The Save the Yampa River Queen Facebook group McNamara started about two weeks ago with her sister, Kaitlyn, had just shy of 2,000 members Friday afternoon.

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The page has also become sort of a brainstorming forum where custom playground builders have even joined to offer their thoughts on how a new riverboat themed playground can be built.

Others are sharing photos and memories of their time on the playground in West Lincoln Park.

The city has invited anyone with an interest in the future of West Lincoln Park to attend the Dec. 13 public hearing.

Parks and Community Services Director John Overstreet said Tuesday the city had received more than 60 emails from people in support of the River Queen.

City officials have told the parks and recreation commission the structure is beyond repair, lacks accessibility for people with disabilities and needs to be replaced.

So earlier this month, the commission voted unanimously to endorse a $150,000 plan to get rid of the River Queen and replace it with a shade structure that resembles a hay or horse shed along with interactive musical instruments for children and possibly some boulders and other active playground elements for children to play on.

That's when the backlash started and the Save the Yampa River Queen campaign picked up steam.