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  • Dylan Anderson

After ending second sheet of ice talks, Council will discuss future of Howelsen Hill Tuesday

Council decided not to move forward with negotiations on Feb. 6 after it became clear the project needed significant city funding.

After deciding to end negotiations on a fundraising agreement for a second sheet of ice at Howelsen Hill on Feb. 6, Steamboat Springs City Council will discuss how to proceed with planning the future of the complex on Tuesday.

In January, Council said they favored moving forward with an amended fundraising agreement with the Howelsen Ice Pavilion Committee that would extend the deadline and likely incorporate a sizable contribution from city coffers.

The committee asked the city to match up to $3 million in donations, for what is now estimated to be a $6.7 million project. The previous iteration of the agreement was not asking for city dollars.

But while discussing how to negotiate in executive session on Feb. 6 council couldn’t reach agreement on a proposed strategy, according to a staff account included Tuesday’s Council packet. Council then emerged from the closed-door meeting to say they intended to end negotiations.

“The conclusion reached in executive session was to not extend that contract,” West said on Feb. 6. “We really do intent to focus on Howelsen in general — including a second sheet of ice — and figure out how to move forward on a much higher level.”

The pavilion proposal would create an covered outdoor ice sheet that could be used as ice roughly five months a year. When not used as ice, the pavilion could be used for a variety of other activities.

Council’s decision came at the end of Feb. 6 meeting after council came out of a roughly 40-minute executive session. Members agreed they should bring the conversation back at a future meeting to allow user groups to be part of the discussion.

In documents prepared for Tuesday’s meeting, city staff share a timeline for a charette process for Howelsen Hill that was already in the works. This process was put into motion after council decided not to move forward with a proposed facility for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club at Howelsen at the start of 2023.

That timeline, which includes community outreach, anticipates delivering a report by September.

“If we’re going to use tax dollars [for a public project] that we need to spend this much money on, I want to look at it a little bit broader,” said council member Michael Buccino on Feb. 6. “I think that we need to stop and look at what more we can do with the second sheet of ice and additional stakeholders in that footprint, because Howelsen Hill is so limited in the land that we have.”

Members of groups that are constantly jostling for ice time — Hockey, figure skating, curling among others — showed up to the January meeting to persuade Council to support the project. Council will take public comment again on Tuesday as part of the item, which is estimated to start around 6 p.m. based on Council’s agenda.

Top Photo Caption: A rendering of the Howelsen Ice Pavilion. (Howelsen Ice Pavilion Committee/Courtesy)


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