Charlene Stees: More retail space?


Let me tell you about a nice little Western town that used to exist.

We had a swimming pool with an indoor, Olympic-sized warm pool. We had three grocery stores; two hardware stores; a bakery; a saddle shop which sold saddles, as well as clothing and did shoe repair; a Ben Franklin; a Montgomery Ward; a J. C. Penny's and a sporting goods store that actually sold guns and ammo for the hunters. We had three liquor stores, a Co-Op, a newspaper, three auto dealerships, F.M. Light and Sons, Allen's men's store and a ladies department store, which included clothing, shoes, and household items. We had two dress shops, two jewelry stores (with jewelers), two drugstores, a beautiful large community dance hall and meeting space. We had probably eight or nine filling stations. And everyone knew everyone else. The town had a real Western flavor and was considered a friendly town.

Downtown, we still have F.M. Light and Sons, Allen's, Del's Jewelry, Lyon's Drug and Bob's Conoco. Everyone else has moved to the east end or the west end. We no longer have an indoor swimming pool, a community center, three grocery stores, two hardware stores, three liquor stores, Montgomery Ward's, Ben Franklin's, a bakery, dress shops, department stores or auto dealerships. And we only have one filling station left in town, Bob's Conoco. We've also lost the Western friendly atmosphere we used to have.

Jim Cook - Where would you put Bob Logan if you don't want him on Lincoln Avenue? Would you have him go back on Pine or Missouri, or would you rather have him out in Strawberry Park? He has every much right on his lot as you do, and as far as I'm concerned maybe a lot more. He didn't displace 40 some families to make money.

When you get done building, I understand you'll have 80,000 feet of commercial retail space. The town doesn't want "formula" stores, so what the heck is going to go into your retail space? More T-shirt shops and more bike shops? I'd be willing to bet that there will be a lot of empty expensive footage in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Charlene Stees

Steamboat Springs


another_local 9 years, 10 months ago

Bob has been trying to sell his prperty which makes pretty good sense. It is worth a lot of money now. It is his decision, not some developers. Nobody is pushing him to re-locate. Go ask him.

In the end the factors changing Steamboat are larger than anything created or decided in our little valley. The poplulation of our nation has increased by 100,000,000 since the days you recall in your letter. Colorado has nearly tripled. Technology has allowed people to live and recreate in formerly remote places like Routt county. The baby-boom generation is now the largest (and wealthiest) factor in the economy and they are now enjoying their peak earning power and preparing to retire.

The developers are not driving these changes; they are responding to them. Nobody is forcing property owners to sell. Cook did not force those trailers out, the property owner and the trailer owners themselves did that when the owner decided to sell and residents did not buy the place.


spukomy 9 years, 10 months ago

I'm not so convinced the developers aren't driving these changes to some degree. If Jim Cook had not developed the Mobile Home Park, would someone else have? It seems that his vision, money and ego are the driving force. The square footage of the new complexs will probably make it difficult if not impossible to succesfully run a restraunt. There is a delicate balance in keeping a profit margin while providing a quality meal. There is a huge list of restraunts in town that have gone out of business in the last 4-5 years. I don't know much about retail, but I'll bet it won't be easy to pay huge sq. footage money and be sucessful.
Of course change is inevitable. The masses have been comming for some time. And we aren't the only state in the nation that has seen a recent spike in housing costs. California and Jersey are just two of many other states that have paralled our situation. When it comes down to this town, Jim Cook is definately part of the problem. He feels his way is best and must happen at any cost to the people of this town. Somehow he can open his checkbook at a public City Council meeting and pay his way out of a downtown parking ordinance, while redeveloping. Somehow he doesn't have to follow parking ordinances in front of his Yampa St building. The same area he is trying to "save". Somehow he won Businessman Of The Year. But he is most certainly not a Man of the People. More like a Vulture of the Valley.


another_local 9 years, 10 months ago

Once that mobile home park was on the market and the people in it did not put together a way to buy it, it was going to the highest bidder. So yes, I think another buyer would have developed it too. The parcel is worth more as a development project than as a rent generator from mobile homes.

I don't see your point on the square footage regarding restaurants. Same for retail. The proposed rents in the Riverwalk project are pretty reasonable and quite a bit less than most restaurants downtown are paying today. (Have you gone and looked? I have) They are certainly not at a level that will preclude profitable operation of a restaurant or retail store. The challenge will be to draw customer traffic out of the center of town. I think that the amentiy of the river will go al long way in doing that.

Restaurants go in and out of business all the time. Rent is rarely a factor.

What parking ordinances are you refering to on Yampa street? That area has been a challenge ever since Sweet Pea and Sunpies opened next door to his offices. Good businesses draw traffic.

Regarding parking, I think you are right. Our city has been too quick to accept payment in lieu for parking requirements. This has been going on since before Cook arrived here. The problem is that the city never does anything with the funds. Ask your council person about that one... yes, the same council that just passed another whopper of a pament in lieu system for housing.


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