Steamboat Springs As the city prepares to put out bids for road and pedestrian improvements to Mount Werner Circle, the Steamboat Grand questions how much of the bill it will be expected to pay.
At last week's city council meeting, the council approved $100,000 for the traffic project, which would leave an estimated $582,000 bill in the hands of the Grand.
But that number Steamboat Ski Area President Chris Diamond said, is unrealistic.
With the headquarters of the American Skiing Co.'s real estate division in Utah, Diamond said he has been involved with the hotel, but has not recently discussed with the city how much the Grand's share of the road and walkway improvements is.
"There's no money, no details no final agreement," Diamond said. "There's a lot of work to do before that happens. What is the amount and scope of the work, I can't confirm."
But the City's Director of Public Works, Jim Weber, is looking to put the estimated $682,000 project out to bid this month and break ground in June.
This summer's improvements to Mount Werner Circle will go from the entrance of the parking garage across from the Gondola Transit Center up to the service entrance at Burgess Creek Road.
Plans call for the road to be narrowed to two main lanes from the current four lanes, to add walkways across the street from the Grand and to install pedestrian friendly crossways.
At last Tuesday's council meeting, the council approved a motion to dip into reserves for projects such as Mount Werner Circle, which were capital improvements partially dictated by outside funding.
The understanding was that the city would pay $100,000 and the Grand would pick up the rest of the costs.
At the moment, the American Skiing Co. sits in deep financial trouble, with $300 million in net debt at the end of the second fiscal quarter in January.
The real estate division, which owns the Steamboat Grand, lost $10.9 million in the last quarter and the resort segment lost $31 million.
When the development plan for the Steamboat Grand was passed by the council five years ago, Diamond said, it did not require the hotel to hold any money for the pending projects.
Diamond said that at the time the city was unsure of what traffic changes needed to be made, so the Grand did not have to set aside any funds as they had done to guarantee the completion of water and sewer projects.
But Weber said in April of 2001 the Grand signed a development agreement.
That agreement stated the Grand pay the city the cost of transit, street and pedestrian improvements west of the middle line on Mount Werner Circle and along the front of the Grand's property.
An appendix to the agreement also listed percentages of how much the Grand would pay for other improvement costs.
Weber also said the city has been in contact with the Grand since the estimated figures for the improvements were released.
The second phase of the improvements, which Weber said would not get under way until the city comes up with the funding, includes changing the orientation of the Gondola Transit Center and upgrading roads past Apres Ski Way.
Diamond said the Grand had an agreement to pay for 15 percent, with a cap of $100,000, for the improvements to the transit center.
The entire scope of the project, which is expected to cost $2 million, runs from Apres Ski Way to just beyond Burgess Creek Road.