Steamboat Springs Restoring Burgess Creek to a natural looking streambed where it crosses the bottom of the ski area is among the most glamorous aspects of redeveloping the mountain base.
However, it was nothing but a headache for Steamboat Springs resort and city officials Tuesday night.
The Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority voted Tuesday to absorb a portion of cost overruns and proceed with construction this summer. But there's work to be done before it's "full stream ahead."
The estimated cost of rerouting the creek from an existing culvert for the summers and shifting it back to a new, larger culvert for the ski season has grown to nearly $1 million. And the clock is ticking on a complex construction season. City officials agreed they must take into account Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.'s plans to build the multi-million dollar Christie Peak Express six-seat chairlift in time for the 2007-08 ski season. The new culvert would pass in close proximity to the lift.
Ski Corp. President Chris Diamond said his company has already written about $4 million in checks for the new lift and related improvements. The site of the lower lift terminal must be prepped by August.
City Council convened last night as the Redevelopment Authority, the hat it wears when it's deciding how to spend public funds collected by the Urban Renewal Authority at the mountain base. The funds are dedicated to building public improvements there.
A big chunk of the monies needed to daylight Burgess Creek will come from the URA. But deciding how much of the cost should be borne by the ski corp., and whether other property owners neighboring the base should contribute, proved thorny Tuesday. In addition to carrying the creek, the culvert contains storm runoff from many properties at the ski base.
The cost of the project has grown from an original estimate of $630,000 in part because of the need to increase the culvert's diameter to 78 inches from 60 inches to make it sufficient to contain a 100-year flood. The unexpected need for a temporary culvert during construction added $110,000.
The Redevelopment Authority voted, 5-2, to authorize construction of the new 78-inch culvert if the necessary easements from neighboring property owners can be secured in time. The motion made by Steve Ivancie trimmed the 2007 budget for the project to $874,073 by deferring a piece of the work. And Ivancie's motion called for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. to increase its participation from 20 percent of the cost to 25 percent.
Ski Corp.'s construction timetable is so tight ski area officials would consider a decision to go it alone on culvert construction without daylighting the creek this summer, Diamond said. He has just a few days to wait before pulling the trigger on ordering just enough culvert to make the site ready for chairlift construction.
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