If you go

What: Valmont City Park public meeting

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: Municipal Service Center, 5050 E. Pearl St., Boulder

More info: bouldercolorado.gov

Years ago, Boulder runners could use the University of Colorado's track or the one at Boulder High School. Now CU's track is closed to the general public and Boulder High's track is often locked.

Boulder marathoner and running coach Sarah Rebick recalled seeing more than 300 runners jockey for position one morning at Fairview High School's track, the only track in Boulder that is consistently open to the public.

Boulder's large running community hopes that a track and cross-country course at Valmont City Park will relieve that congestion and provide a place that brings together runners of diverse skill levels and styles.

"That's something we think we could make really good use of," Rebick said.

Runners are just one athletics interest group hoping that final plans for the south side of Valmont City Park include their needs.

Boulder has owned the land for Valmont City Park for more than 20 years, but has not had the money to fully develop the park.

Boulder Parks and Recreation created a plan for the site in 2008 and developed the bike park on the north side of Valmont that opened in 2011.

The 90 acres on the south side of the park remain largely undeveloped, and the department is seeking new input and will update the plan before seeking funding — most likely from a future voter-approved capital bond program — to complete it.

"Valmont is our only city park," said Boulder Parks Planning Manager Jeff Haley. "We have three community parks that serve the east, south and north. We truly want to engage the entire city in this process. We want to know, are these amenities still valid?"

Tim Adair plays a round of disc golf last week at Valmont City Park in Boulder. The park currently features a temporary course that may or may not be
Tim Adair plays a round of disc golf last week at Valmont City Park in Boulder. The park currently features a temporary course that may or may not be included in final plans for the 90-acre site. (Jeremy Papasso / Daily Camera)

Planning 'backwards'

The 2008 plans calls for a variety of uses for the south side of the park. They include an amphitheater, an 18-hole disc golf course, picnic areas, an adventure playground, two outdoor lighted courts, a splash plaza, trails and multiuse paths, various multiuse fields and possible indoor recreation facilities.

Right now, there are some trails, a single multiuse field and a disc golf course, which is technically an interim use that may or may not continue.

There's no lighting, no utilities and no parking at the site.

"It will really need a large capital budget to do the major items," Haley said.

Officials estimate it would cost around $20 million to complete the 2008 plan.

Haley said some people think that the parks department has it backwards, planning with no budget, but the department wants to be able to present a plan with strong community support that addresses obvious needs before asking for money.

City leaders have mentioned the possibility of another capital bond program in 2015, but no decisions have been made.

Boulder is holding a public meeting Thursday night to talk about plans for Valmont and hear from the community about what they want and need.

In addition to community input, the parks department will be looking at trends in sports participation, Haley said.

Rebick said the dream of many runners is an indoor fieldhouse with a track, and training facilities for year-round use. But even an outdoor track and a cross-country course would fill a big gap, she said.

"What's exciting to me is the idea of a place that's open to the public at all times, where you don't have to worry about a lacrosse game or something going on," she said. "And it could be something that brings the running community together."

Push for playing fields

Organizers of soccer, baseball and other youth sports also want to see more fields.

Vicki Moore, a longtime volunteer with North Boulder Little League, said the league doesn't turn away new kids, but it doesn't advertise or market either. There's really no room to expand.

"We just don't have enough fields to support the needs of the community, and the ones that we do have, are kind of falling into disrepair and aren't up to the standards of many of our neighboring communities," she said.

Valmont City Park isn't the only place new baseball fields could go, but it's definitely the easiest place to get them in the next few years because the city already owns the land and it's already designated for a park.

Peter Ambrose, who runs Boulder Indoor Soccer, which also has youth leagues that play outside, said there's now enough indoor field space. But there's still a shortage of practice space outside.

Ambrose said the city needs to think carefully about the purpose of any new soccer fields. Fields that are open to everyone will get worn down and be hard to maintain. Fields that are maintained for games won't address the need for practice space.

"Are you building them for the soccer clubs, to run as a business and rent, or for the community?" he asked.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355, meltzere@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/meltzere.