CML conference begins today in town

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Steamboat Springs officials will be among those speaking this week during the annual Colorado Municipal League Conference.

Today marks the opening sessions for the CML conference, which is being held in Steamboat for the first time since 1982. More than 800 people from across the state are expected to attend the five-day conference on local government issues, being held at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

This morning, City Council President Paul Strong is scheduled to give the welcoming address to conference goers. Strong said the conference is a great boost for the summer economy, while allowing city officials to gather valuable information and network.

"It is a great opportunity to develop relationships with other communities throughout the state. ... There will be members of the state government there," Strong said.

Later in the morning, city Transportation Director George Krawzoff will join Fort Collins Transportation Director Ron Phillips in talking about how municipalities are working with other groups to move multimodal transportation projects forward.

On Friday, Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord will be on a panel with two other municipal employees to discuss purchasing and construct delivery systems.

City Manager Paul Hughes said the city has been working for two years to prepare for the conference. They applied to host the event almost three years ago, and Hughes said it could be the largest conference the two hotels have ever had.

"It shows us the kind of capacity we have to bring in large groups of people when it is not ski season," Hughes said.

The Sheraton is the official headquarters of the conference, with the Grand hosting many of the sessions.

The city will host the CML conference again in 2008.

Last week, CML Executive Director Ken Bueche said the 22-year hiatus was because the community's facilities where not large enough to accommodate the organization's numbers.

Today's opening session will begin with keynotes speeches from National League of Cities President Charles Lyons and Patty Limerick, chairwoman of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado.

Attorney General Ken Salazar also is scheduled to speak at 2:45 p.m. today on the state's water issues.

On Thursday, National Civic League President Chris Gates will give the luncheon address on "Reinventing democracy on the local level."

Throughout the week, conference also will have break out sessions covering community branding, main street programs, demographic trends, affordable housing, guerrilla marketing, November ballot issues and case studies on citizen participation.

Spectators can register for a five-day fee of $400 and a one-day fee of $115.

To accommodate all the conference goers, the city has added an extra bus to its regular service from today until Friday. The buses will run every half hour on the quarter-hour from the Gondola Transit Center to downtown.

The added service, which will start at 6:15 a.m. and end at 11:30 p.m., is an extension of the city's existing 20-minute schedule.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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