Steamboat to consider building $7M indoor sports facility

A rendering of the proposed Steamboat Springs Sports Barn project. (Courtesy image)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs City Council decided Tuesday to move forward on looking into the construction of an indoor sports facility — though council members and the city’s Parks and Recreation department said they likely would not break ground until spring 2023.

“There’s not much to lose in terms of investigating, and it’s kind of a low-risk exploration,” City Council President Jason Lacy said. “This is at least a step in the right direction.”

Leon Rinck, president of the Steamboat Sports Barn board of directors, brought the idea to council on Tuesday and proposed a $7 million fundraiser his organization would be willing to conduct should the city choose to move forward. The facility’s location and constructor would be up to the city, but Rinck proposed a 45,000-square-foot indoor, year-round facility to include one field for soccer and lacrosse, one hard surface court for volleyball and basketball and options for other sports.

A rendering of the proposed Steamboat Springs Sports Barn project. (Courtesy image)

“As our community continues to grow, the strain on our existing school facilities and fields has reached over capacity,” Rinck said. “When you factor in that our outdoor fields are covered in snow for six months out of the year, there is an overwhelming need in our youth sports community for an indoor facility for year-round programming.”

The Steamboat Sports Barn project would fund the project entirely and the city would not use city funds.

Rinck said, while the facility would be primarily used for sports, non-athletic youth and adult clubs could also use the building.

Kelly Landers, who addressed the council during the public comment section and represented Girl Scouts and the Boys & Girls Club, urged the council to at least consider the measure, as she said it would greatly benefit both youth clubs.

A rendering of the proposed Steamboat Springs Sports Barn project. (Courtesy image)

“I’d love for you guys to entertain it and see where it goes, don’t just shut it down,” Landers said. “Our gym is full all day long with kids, and it would be great to get them somewhere else and give them more opportunities.”

Council members agreed on the need for such a facility, but shared several concerns, such as where the building could be located.

Rinck said the group would like to build the facility between the schools and the Yampa River Core Trail, but some council members said they did not believe the city had any open land available for use in that area.

“To me, if the city has extra land, we should be looking at employee housing or a fire station,” said council member Kathi Meyer. “We have other needs and I’m just concerned about doing this before COVID is done.”

In response, council member Heather Sloop said the city may be able to utilize open land for such a building that they may not be able to use for employee housing, as zoning laws differ.

“We can’t put employee housing in a lot of places because of zoning, but I think there are a lot of potential spaces that the city could have,” Sloop said. “This is a preliminary thing so why not look at a space and land analysis to see if it’s viable.”

The council will continue discussions with the city Parks and Recreation department.

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