Our View: Extreme downtown makeover


We can paint colorful murals on construction barriers and enlist artists to decorate hard hats, but no matter how you spin it, Steamboat Springs' downtown commercial district will face some adversity for the next couple of years. The dust and commotion of half a dozen major building projects will dominate Lincoln Avenue and Yampa Street this summer and beyond. But there is encouraging news on the horizon.

We're enthusiastic about the efforts to put in place a downtown business improvement district that could raise $120,000 annually to ensure downtown is a lively place to visit despite all the construction. The revenue would be used to create special events, market downtown as a destination and beautify the streetscape. Some funds will be used to "manage" the downtown parking situation.

If you have any doubt about the need for this undertaking, consider that sales tax revenues collected in downtown businesses in February were off a fraction of a point while revenues from the commercial districts in the U.S. Highway 40 corridor and at the base of the ski area were up 13 percent.

"Main Street Steamboat was started on the premise that downtown isn't broken but it could break if we don't do something," Tracy Barnett said this week. Barnett is program director for Main Street, which oversees the Business Improvement District Steering Committee. The committee, pushed by downtown businessmen Tom Ptach and Bill Moser, is gathering the petition signatures needed to ask commercial property owners and business owners within the district if they will agree to increase their property taxes to fund the improvement district.

And Barnett had some encouraging news Tuesday. Pending certification by the city clerk, the committee has gathered more than the number of signatures it needs to go to a mail ballot election this fall. She estimates there are about 200 voters in the district - each property owner will be granted a vote and each business owner will be granted a vote.

The $120,000 would be raised by imposing a 4-mill tax on commercial properties from the Yampa River north to the alley between Oak and Pine streets. The district's east-west boundaries are from Second Street to 13th Street.

We feel strongly that our historic downtown is vital to the future of Steamboat Springs, and failing to keep pace with some of the public improvements under way at the base of the ski area would be a regrettable mistake.

We're already seeing how the public infrastructure improvements in Ski Time Square are playing an important role in redevelopment of the ski area base.

In that light, we're encouraged to see Main Street Steamboat tackling a project that stands to yield the most tangible benefits of anything that group has yet undertaken. Furthermore, we support the efforts of business owners in the downtown district to take greater control of their collective destinies.


boatski 9 years, 10 months ago

Parking and traffic are going to to get worse, the last thing we need is to waste money to try and bring more people into an area that has to much dangerous traffic and not enough room to park. Your view should be to come up with a plan for a downtown bypass and a parking structure.


Clearsky 9 years, 10 months ago

Every "traffic improvement" that focused on handling more has resulted in saturation within a short time. We have to go beyond that type of thinking for a solution. A cummuter train that is laid out in a simple way may be the best solution. Walk or bike to the station and be delivered downtown.


JQPUBLIC 9 years, 10 months ago

boatski hit half the problem... traffic is a zoo, parking is even worse and downtown stmbt is a tourist trap. Routt county locals cannot afford to shop there and if we could we don't need any more shirts that say "ski steamboat" (take note wal-mart and use the space for locals). There's a couple of restaurants downtown that have good food and reasonable prices but not worth the traffic and parking problems. On top of this we're taxed to death to pay for stmbts "must haves", it's just easier and less costly to go elsewhere. By the way... shopping in craig is a pleasure, they actually treat you like they're glad to have your business.


corduroy 9 years, 10 months ago

I never really have trouble finding parking downtown. I guess people forget they have FEET and can walk a block or two, or take the FREE bus. It's true we could use a parking structure, but where and how will we do that without it being an eyesore. Face it, you can't please everyone.


dwahzner 9 years, 10 months ago

I liked the way it was 25 years ago, when you could drive down Lincoln Ave and not get a honk unless it was someone waving hi, not honking and giving you the finger! So much for the old days! We still are not as bad as Vail. Maybe making Lincoln a foot mall and have traffic bypass on Yampa and Oak would preserve our towns main drag? Just a thought. DTMA would have a fit without direct traffiic.


fish 9 years, 10 months ago

That idea might work but since Lincold Ave is really US40, I seriously doubt if the state would allow you to turn part of it into a walking mall. Since the state also has final say over it, it would benefit steamboat to find a different solution.


another_local 9 years, 10 months ago

Parking downtown is generally no problem at all with the exception of 3-4 weeks a year. I am down there at least five days a week for one thing or another.

This particular tax would be unique. It is paid by the businesses in the district not by residents and not by those outside the district. More important, the spending of the revenue raised is controlled by the businesses in the district that paid the tax, not by the city.


bcpow 9 years, 10 months ago

a_l and corduroy are right. Parking is generally not a problem if you are willing to walk. But if you want a spot in front of Azteca then keep driving around the block. And I sure hope that 5 more furniture stores that I will never visit occupy some of the new cookville units. That would be swell. Thank god for the internet.


thecondoguy1 9 years, 10 months ago

where the hell is Maybell........ I will buy all my clothes there...


frustratedSboater 9 years, 10 months ago

Let's face it parking will always be a problem. Managing the resources we have regarding parking is important. Complaining about change is apparently a pretty active pastime for many. Having lived in a very heavily populated city for a number of years has tempered my perspective. Walking 6-10 blocks means parking is difficult and a potential problem. I liked how things were just 5 years ago, but I find the changes to Steamboat exciting. Who knows maybe I'll want to move to Maybell when things get too built up.


thecondoguy1 9 years, 10 months ago

just giving you the rib, been there, I have a friend with a ranch and a hunting camp there, love being held up on 40 for cattle drives, l get a bang out of tee shirts for sale at the Maybell Merchantile, where the hell is Maybell, the kids love um hence where the hell is Maybell, gotta love it.


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