Steamboat Springs If you had to build something for Steamboat Springs, what would it be?
The Economic Development Council has compiled a "wish list" a sizable index of all the possible amenities needed or wanted by the community.
"Compilation of this list was a joint effort. We tried to consult everybody commissioners, City Council, school districts, special districts any agency or governmental entity that we knew might have some type of future project in mind," County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
The list is true to the spirit of the upcoming Economic Summit, which will be run and organized entirely by the demands and sentiments of community members in attendance. Every resident is encouraged to attend.
It also reflects the EDC's vision statement, as written in 1998: "[We shall] maintain a pristine valley with economic vitality and a vibrant sense of community by addressing the needs and effects of current and future partners. This includes consideration of quality of life issues and community values."
The list will be distributed to all summit attendants on the evening of June 1, giving everyone an opportunity to prepare topics for Friday's conventions. More than one interested party, on any given community issue or project, will constitute an official group to convene and strategize to achieve goals pertinent to the selected issue.
"This is how people can prepare," Sandy Evans said. She's the interim director of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. "If you have an idea, or like an idea on the list, gather information, and convene a session at the summit. The more information that is brought, the more action can be taken."
It is important for the public to realize the "wish list" is a tentative document merely a draft that includes every potential project for the valley, Stahoviak said.
"If we've missed anything, someone should speak up now. This is an ongoing working document, and we want it to be a real comprehensive list.
"It truly identifies the multitude of needs in the community as far as infrastructure is concerned," Stahoviak continued. "Some needs are necessities, some are wants. This puts them all in one place so that when summit participants and the public look at it, they will understand the magnitude of things that are really needed in the community," she explained.
Magnitude indeed the list is long. The big issue for summit participants quickly becomes how particular elements on the list will be accomplished. Fortunately the format of the summit based on open forum technology will allow for a natural prioritization of issues.
"What people want, we'll talk about," Stahoviak said.
There is no particular agenda to narrow this list down, Evans said.
"The goal of the summit, in and of itself, is to determine where the community feels it is most important to invest our time, energy, and finances. Participants will focus on needs and wants of the community as they see fit. That is our hope, anyway that by being able to see all of these possible projects at once, people will understand the inherent need to prioritize."
Another critical question is how any of the items on the wish list will be funded.
"Part of the list includes identification of any and every potential funding source. All of these are tentative, but we wanted all our options out on the table," Stahoviak said.
Some of these potential funding sources include grants both public and private private donors, new district formations, mill levies, resort fees, and lottery funds.
"Everyone wants a dedicated funding source for their own particular project," Evans said. "It is easy to get narrowly focused like that. For instance if your child plays hockey, finding a fund for an ice arena becomes the mission. It is easy to forget the needs for a new jail, an airport terminal expansion, affordable housing."
Another interesting prospect the community wish list presents is the possibility of combining projects and financial resources.
"What are we willing to pay for? If we don't like the idea of an excise tax or mill levy, how can any of these goals reasonably be accomplished?" Evans asked. "We could kill five birds with one stone if we are willing to undertake some broad-based funding mechanisms. What if we combined transportation needs with child care needs," she suggested. "A broader based voter approval is achieved if issues are combined in this way. There is a great opportunity for some new partnerships here."
To contact Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail email@example.com