Bike track, performance park considered for Ski Time Square
November 21, 2009
Steamboat Springs — The developer seeking city approval for plans to redevelop Ski Time Square is looking into plans to build a small, park-like performance venue, as well as a small bicycle venue called a pump track, next summer.
Mark Mathews, of the Atira Group, told a small group of Chamber members Friday that his company has a tentative plan for increased restaurant seating, a grassy lawn and a small performance stage on a vacant lot just east of the Tugboat Grill & Pub.
Mathews gave a short talk during the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's Good Morning Steamboat session at the Steamboat Smokehouse. He cautioned the audience that the plans are not firm.
"We're talking with the Tugboat about putting additional patio seating on the east side of the building," Mathews said. "We would add sod and additional landscaping and build a small stage where the Tugboat could have some musical events. I think that's what's going to create a great synergy up there."
An informal site plan shows aspen and spruce trees planted around the perimeter of the venue. It offers attractive views of the Vogue and See Me ski trails.
Mathews told the Chamber group that his company remains intent on obtaining city approval for new condominium buildings in Ski Time Square and getting them built. However, Atira Group recognizes that it will be years before any construction takes place.
In the meantime, the city has asked Atira to play a role in the effort to add vitality to Ski Time Square.
Tugboat co-owner Larry Lamb, who did not attend Friday's meeting, confirmed his interest in the plan but expressed some disappointment that a public facility isn't already in place for the winter.
"We want to work with them, whatever they do," Lamb said. "It's unfortunate nothing's going to happen this winter. There was talk of an ice rink, but I guess that's not going to happen."
Lamb said it's feasible the musical groups he will book for his bar and grill next summer also could give a daytime performance in a new park.
"It could help to have music on the green on Saturday," for example, Lamb said.
Mathews told the Chamber group that again this year, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club will have the right to raise funds by selling parking permits at an available lot in Ski Time Square. And he said he continues to seek small-business operators wanting to locate some form of concession in Ski Time Square. He has received lots of creative ideas from the public, Mathews said, but few serious proposals.
"Keep these ideas coming, but we need operators," Mathews said.
Lamb said he was unconcerned about the possibility that a business such as a new food cart located in Ski Time Square might compete with his restaurant. He is in talks with a businessman interested in selling ice cream waffles from a cart on the Tugboat's deck.
Another possibility for the future is to create community gardens in Ski Time Square, Mathews said, and he's interested in talking to the community organization Deep Roots about that possibility.
More immediately, Atira is building on its experience at Granby Ranch and Sol Vista Ski Basin to consider building a bicycle pump track on the west side of the Tugboat, opposite the traffic roundabout.
Sol Vista's ski slopes are modest, Mathews said, but it has enjoyed increasing success in summer by expanding upon its bicycle trails.
One feature of the trails at Sol Vista is a pump track where cyclists drop into a basin filled with berms, comparable to a skateboard park, and without pedaling, they snake through the berms.
The Sol Vista track drew 1,200 people on opening day, Mathews said.
The designers of the Sol Vista facility have visited Ski Time Square and confirmed the vacant site on the west side of the Tugboat is suitable for such a track. However, they also said pump tracks are more desirable to riders if they also offer a modest series of jumps.
If developers decide to build a facility including jumps, Mathews said, another site next to Burgess Creek is more suitable.
However, no decision to undertake the project has been made, Mathews emphasized. Addressing liability issues at the track is the primary problem to be solved, he said.
Lamb said he's all for anything that might make Ski Time Square more appealing but that he is unable to participate financially.
"We have no extended lease that would make us able to invest in capital projects," Lamb said.