Steamboat Springs Since starting his new job earlier this month, Steamboat Springs Public Works Director Philo Shelton has been getting a crash course on the city.
"There's plenty to learn," said Shelton, who held the same position in Black Hawk before City Manager Alan Lanning lured him to Steamboat. "Every town has different aspects you have to learn. : It's a good variety of work. There's usually never the same issues or problems."
Besides vowing to improve the department's customer service, Shelton is conducting an inventory of the city's infrastructure, reviewing proposed projects and meeting consultants before formulating any concrete plans. In February, he will hold a workshop with the Steamboat Springs City Council to discuss projects.
The current building boom in Steamboat puts pressure on a public works system, but Shelton said he is comfortable with the workload.
"As far as commercial development," Shelton said, "Black Hawk's development is very similar."
A primarily residential development, however, likely will present some of Shelton's most significant challenges. The proposed Steamboat 700 development west of the city could create more than 2,000 new homes and expand city limits.
"The whole city's going to go through a major process with Steamboat 700 development," said Transportation Director George Krawzoff, who noted that the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan calls for high levels of public transit. "Figuring out how to achieve that, I think, is going to be a huge issue."
Transportation will soon be within Shelton's domain. Krawzoff has announced he will resign as transportation director in March to accept an appointment to the Colorado Transportation Commission.
With Krawzoff's departure, Lanning plans to move the Transportation Department under the Public Works Department and Shelton. Lanning said two areas of expertise that stand out for Shelton are transit and water rights.
"One of the things we've got to review with the Steamboat 700 development is going to be the demand on the water system," Shelton said.
Shelton said the construction of the New Victory Highway might create some opportunities to benefit the water system for all of west Steamboat because it will create an opportunity for more water line loops and create redundancy, or the ability to deliver water from more than one pipe system.
The lack of redundancy on the west side of the city created an emergency situation in September, when a construction contractor broke a water line near the Bud Werner Memorial Library. The break led to a two-day-long ban on using city water for any purpose in west Steamboat. Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said Thursday that the experience encouraged the city to revisit its utilities plan.
Shelton moved to Steamboat with his wife Debbie, his 8-year-old daughter Sydney and his 6-year-old son, also named Philo. He said many factors drew him here.
"I like living in the mountains," Shelton said. "One of the things that's appealing is there's a community; it's not just a resort town. : I enjoy skiing, too, so that's a plus."
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