Mainstreet Steamboat Springs manager seeks Yampa Street focus | SteamboatToday.com

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs manager seeks Yampa Street focus

Tracy Barnett asks Steamboat City Council to plan ahead for downtown improvements

Jack Weinstein

Yampa Street is busy with cars, bikes and other commuters Wednesday. Bike lanes will be added to the street in the next couple of weeks as part of a planned streetscape project.

— With the project to repave Lincoln Avenue complete, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said she thinks the city should turn its attention to redeveloping Yampa Street as an entertainment district.

During an update about the organization that promotes downtown, Barnett told the Steamboat Springs City Council that in spite of a lack of funds, planning should begin immediately to continue development that already has taken place on Yampa Street.

"I don't think this is going to go forward really quickly, but we need to get the community to buy in to what we're doing down there," she said.

Barnett said the community needed to define a vision for Yampa, whether it was a pedestrian-only entertainment district on weekends or something else. She said Tuesday that a good place to start would be the streetscape design guidelines the city paid Britina Design Group $439,000 in May 2007 to create.

Parts of the Lincoln Avenue project, including sidewalk bump-outs and bus shelters, were recommended in the guidelines, city Public Works Director Philo Shelton said.

Shelton said some of the major improvements on Yampa Street suggested in the design guidelines, such as repaving the street and adding sidewalks, curbs and gutters, were years away. But he said the city already is working on some improvements to Yampa.

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In the next couple of weeks, Shelton said, bike lanes will be added to Yampa. And he said the city had budgeted this year to design the project to move utility lines under the street. He said the next project would be improving the drainage under the street.

Shelton said because the pavement on Yampa Street has deteriorated, it is appropriate to start with the infrastructure projects.

"It needs attention whether you have the streetscape or not," he said. "It's a good time to enter these discussions to do these improvements."

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said it was a good time to bring stakeholders together to begin the Yampa Street redevelopment planning, starting with minor improvements next year and larger projects in the future.

Projects could be funded through a business improvement district, a property tax increase that would help pay for them. But Barnett acknowledged it might not be the right time for that.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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