Steamboat Springs Whether they were enacted by the City Council, soundly defeated at the polls by city voters, or simply talked about on city streets, a number of good ideas emerged in 2007.
Last year saw adoption of Steamboat Springs' affordable housing policies, an intense public discussion about local recreation facilities, and the beginnings of a broad collaboration to create a large-scale, inclusive venue for the performing arts.
We hope all three of these ideas move forward in 2008.
Although three City Council members were voted out of Centennial Hall in November's election - and two others did not seek re-election, that City Council should be acknowledged for its groundbreaking efforts to address the community's need for affordable housing.
With policies now in place to provide funding for housing projects and actual housing units in new development, it is up to the new City Council to see that those policies are enacted and utilized effectively. Numerous local surveys have shown that residents value Steamboat Springs for its sense of community. Ensuring that many of our vital community members - namely, our workforce - are able to live and work here is critical to maintaining the sense of community that makes Steamboat different than every other Colorado ski town.
We also are encouraged by what could be store for the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. Combining the management experience of Executive Director Donna Howell and the housing knowledge of project manager Curtis Church with City Council members who have expressed interest in making the Housing Authority the go-to agency on affordable housing projects could signal the start of significant momentum.
Also apparent in local surveys is a strong desire for expanded youth facilities. While the Ski Town Fields recreation center lost handily at the November polls, we hope some of the needs that drove the recreation center campaign are not forgotten. This community can do better for its children, and should continue those efforts in the coming year. At least two encouraging projects already are under way - the new Soda Creek Elementary School and expansion plans for Howelsen Hill both include additional space for youth facilities.
Steamboat Springs resident Mike Forney, active with several community groups, recently said the most newsworthy event of 2008 will be an "announcement of a viable plan to meet the community's recreation needs."
That kind of optimism speaks well for the future of our children and our community.
Finally, 2007 saw remarkable growth in the local arts, and also spotlighted a potential need for a performance venue to accommodate that growth. Emerald City Opera's performance of "Madama Butterfly" was remarkable, but absolutely maxed out the capabilities of Steamboat Springs High School's auditorium. The same could be said for the recent community production of Handel's "Messiah" at the Steamboat Christian Center and the Dec. 13 punk rock show by Agent Orange at Steamboat Mountain Theater, which is scheduled for demolition later this year.
Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. will erect a temporary music tent today in the Knoll parking lot to accommodate upcoming performances at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
Again, the community can do better. We support the collaborative talks that have begun between groups including the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, the Steamboat Springs Orchestra, Colorado Mountain College and Emerald City, and look forward to the possibilities of such a widespread, shared effort.
Steamboat Springs is a community experiencing unprecedented growth, which shows no signs of slowing this year. While there are many other wishes that could be made for the coming months - improved traffic mitigation, increased transparency in local government, better communication between city and county officials, to name a few - the three wishes highlighted here are a good place to start.