Monday, September 3, 2007
If you go
What: Downtown construction concerns meeting
When: 8 a.m. Wednesday
Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.
Information: Call Tracy Barnett at 846-1800
Steamboat Springs Weekly meetings to discuss concerns about downtown construction are improving relations between contractors and downtown business owners, city staff and a downtown organizer said last week.
"Things are settling down tremendously," said Tracy Barnett, executive director of Main Street Steamboat Springs. Barnett said the meetings are designed to "establish a rapport" between construction companies and concerned citizens.
The meetings, held every Wednesday at 8 a.m. at Centennial Hall, are modeled after similar meetings held each Friday at Slopeside Grill to update the public on construction at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
Barnett said that earlier in the summer, construction impacts - such as construction workers being verbally abused and at least one construction company reportedly paying someone to move its workers' cars every two hours to avoid parking tickets - were getting out of control in downtown Steamboat Springs. Barnett said one construction company lost all of its flaggers, who reportedly quit the job because they were tired of receiving verbal abuse and obscene gestures from citizens and tourists.
"Everybody thought they were worse off," Barnett said.
Barnett said the weekly meetings have fostered consideration on all sides. Greg Gunn, hired last month by the city as a construction site inspector, has emerged as the liaison between contractors, business owners, the public and city employees. Gunn facilitates the weekly meetings.
"I think things are going really well," Gunn said. "We might go to biweekly meetings after we get these things hammered out."
Parking has emerged as perhaps the biggest issue at the meetings. The minutes from a recent meeting include an estimation that downtown construction has reduced parking along Lincoln Avenue by 22 percent. Contractors and business owners are discussing options - such as creating construction parking at the rodeo area at Howelsen Hill - to alleviate the strain. Barnett said the city has agreed to step up its enforcement of parking violations.
Plenty of issues remain for discussion, even as the summer construction season winds down. Barnett said the biggest issue on the horizon is snow-storage plans for the winter.
"We're in for a long haul here," she said.