The Connor family from Denver takes an afternoon stroll along Lincoln Avenue on Sunday. Christie Connor pushes Cameron, 3, and John Connor holds Morgan, 1. Grandparents Audrey and Bill Bladt from Arizona came along. Officials from Mainstreet Steamboat Springs are asking the city for funding to improve the downtown area to keep bringing in tourists.

Photo by Blythe Terrell

The Connor family from Denver takes an afternoon stroll along Lincoln Avenue on Sunday. Christie Connor pushes Cameron, 3, and John Connor holds Morgan, 1. Grandparents Audrey and Bill Bladt from Arizona came along. Officials from Mainstreet Steamboat Springs are asking the city for funding to improve the downtown area to keep bringing in tourists.

Mainstreet asks city for cash

Group wants funding match of up to $100K, talks on garages


— Mainstreet Steamboat Springs is asking the city for up to $100,000 a year in matching funds.

The group presented its request at last week's City Council meeting. The money would help fund operations, programming and possibly the hiring of a special events coordinator.

"We're maxed out with respect to our resources, and that events coordinator is a key part of Mainstreet's success in programs around the country to really inspire volunteerism," Mainstreet President Towny Anderson said in an interview. "And in order to do that, you need someone who can coordinate that volunteer effort and do it on a sustainable basis."

The city has given Mainstreet $60,000, $63,000 and $65,000 the past three years. The group is asking for a minimum of $65,000 and a match of whatever Mainstreet raises beyond that from members, grants and programs. It would be capped at $100,000, Mainstreet Manager Tracy Barnett said.

In its presentation to the council, the group said that an annual investment of $100,000 would create $5 million to $6 million in new tax revenue during the next five years. The city should invest in downtown the same way it invests in the base area, Barnett said.

On top of that, she and Anderson noted, the mountain area will be under construction for several years.

"With the improvements going on in the base area, there's going to be a lot of disruption," Anderson said. "If we don't get the visitors in the base area downtown, we're going to lose those visitors because the disruption in the base area is going to be going on the next two to five years."

Mainstreet decided not to go through with a vote on a business improvement district this year. Owners of downtown businesses would have been taxed through the district, and that money would have paid for improvements downtown. Voters narrowly rejected such a district through a mail-in ballot last fall.

Without that income, Mainstreet had to seek funding elsewhere.

Bob Litzau, the city's assistant finance director, said his department is starting to work on the 2009 budget. The council is scheduled to OK that budget in October, he said.

"It would go through the budget process, and it would have to be approved ultimately by council," Litzau said of Mainstreet's request. "But it would have to be part of the budget cycle."

He said the funds for the group had come from the community support budget in the past. The new funds, if approved, probably would go through the same source, Litzau said.

The city has given $1.5 million to $1.8 million for community support annually. That includes $600,000 to $800,000 in summer marketing money for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, Litzau said.

Also at Tuesday's council meeting, Mainstreet delivered a presentation on the possibility of a downtown parking garage. The group asked the council to plan a work session to discuss options. The council opted not to do so, instead asking Mainstreet to return with a list of possible ways to fund it.

A 300-car garage could cost $6 million to $15 million, Mainstreet told the council.

"We have to start thinking of all the alternatives to ways to come up with funds," Barnett said in an interview. "We're not necessarily asking the city to pay for all this. A private developer could build it and dedicate it to city. : If the parking garage were wrapped with retail wrap, it would give the developer the option of building it and making money back through retail rents or condominiums."

Mainstreet is looking at half a block at Eighth and Oak streets as a possible garage site, Barnett said. Even if a garage doesn't go up, she said, now is the time for these talks to begin.

"This whole traffic discussion is going to get worse from here on out, and we can't keep putting it on the back burner," Barnett said. "It isn't that we need a parking structure today, but we need to be planning it and putting aside money for one in the future."

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail


scooter 8 years, 10 months ago

Get it from Triple Crown!!! Dave's got deep pockets!


justathought 8 years, 10 months ago

If the locals shop in town, businesses get their money, taxes go to government, presumably to pay for city necessities. Mainstreet wants more city tax money so they can attract more visitors and earn more money. They make more money, pay more taxes so the government can give more back to mainstreet to attract more tourists while they [city] spend tax money to build (buy) affordable housing for the employees. Meanwhile if the locals need better services such as fire rescue, streets, library, etc., they vote to raise their own taxes to pay for it. "We're not necessarily asking the city to pay for all this. A private developer could build it and dedicate it to city"... WHO do they think pays for all of this in the long run? It looks like they keep raping the locals to invest in a tourist town that will NEVER be "local" friendly again. I hope everyone enjoys paying for this merry-go-round ride.


ColoradoNative 8 years, 10 months ago

Forget about the triple crown. It's parking, running for your life, and shopping season on the freeway we call lincoln avenue!

If you thought last years summer survival event was fun just wait until this july! With all the added condos downtown the competition for parking will be even more extreme! Competition will be fierce as locals, tourists, will be battling the new residents of the condos downtown! You see they all have their 1 dedicated space but who buys a $1 Million dollar condo and has one car? Joe Millionaire will be stashing his Benz in his garage but he wants YOUR parking spot for his 5 buddies visiting for the weekend!

Ok Ok....

Enough of that. We need some parking garages so we can free up some space on our HIGHWAY through town. That way we can expand our sidewalks or create some islands for the poor tourists who have to play frogger across our death trap errr.....I mean "shopping promenade" through town.

Build a bypass and downtown steamboat just might have a chance. I bet if there was a state poll of "who has the worst downtown traffic problems in Colorado" Steamboat would win hands down.

You'd think with a town full of developers we'd be able to save our little town from the destructive path we are on but the typical city response is "Let's spend more money on a study" and do nothing.

I'm sorry but paving lincoln avenue is just a waste of money. We need real change. Can't anyone see the disaster in the making when Steamboat 700 is underway? Anyone paying attention to the growth in Craig? Hayden? N. Routt? Steamboat in general?

Fred Duckels where are you??????????????


btheball 8 years, 10 months ago


If I knew who you were and ran for Mayor (which we really do need, if nothing else to stop all of the studies and monies constantly going out of town to consultants...), I'd vote for you! And not just cause I'm a native too...

We need a bypass or Lincoln Ave. will always be a Highway.

Let the businesses give the Mainstreet group the $100k if they think it is warranted. I haven't heard any good ideas from them or their consultant about what to do with "Mainstreet".

Give the 100K to Fred Duckels to manage a (local) Civil and Traffic Engineering group for a Bypass Alternative Study!! That would be the only study worth something to Steamboat. Get that implemented and then re-plan Lincoln Ave.

Not the cart before the horse status quo.


dave reynolds 8 years, 10 months ago

hey why not ask Jim Crook.if he dont have deep pockets then is investors do..after all he has a vision for pony up and helpyour vision come true..oh but wait i want to profit from this not help out


casius109 8 years, 10 months ago

Sometimes reading these boards I wonder if all of you really get out and enjoy Steamboat or just sit at home waiting for a parking spot to open up right in front of the Cantina so you can sit out front and talk about how bad the traffic is. Traffic is filling up as more commuters make their way from Craig and Hayden into Steamboat, but we need these workers, due to the high price of homes (averaging $400K for a small place).

As for parking downtown, I have never had to walk more than a block from a parking spot to where ever I am going downtown. At a minimum of $20,000 per parking spot (according to this article), a parking garage is looking like it won't fit into a budget that is spending millions on advertising in Denver without an investor who will make money for him/herself with retail shops, while helping out the community with a parking garage.

For those of you who just hate any organization that asks for money from the government with nothing to show for it remember Mainstreet organizes events that make Steamboat very appealing to Locals and tourist. They have set up events like Light up the Night, Thursday evening shopping for locals, and the Farmers Market, just to name a few. They have helped to organize downtown into a group of businesses that do events together like Halloween and sidewalk sales.

By spending $60K to $100k on Mainstreet, this article states we will be able to attain $5,000,000 in revenue which, for simple math of 8% taxes, is $300,000 in added tax revenue less the $100K spent for Mainstreet. Wouldn't you love to throw a $1 into an investment and get $3 back? Remember also, that this money is coming from locals AND TOURIST, but mostly TOURIST. Locals tend to spend the same money year after year. (Can someone spend a bunch of money on another consultant to tell everyone I am right? Ah, worth a shot.)

I know most of you who comment on articles HATE tourism, but rely on tourism to pay for your way of life in Steamboat in some way. We all need tourism in this town and we do need organizations and people that support our local way of life, while wanting to provide tourist with the experience of Steamboat Springs. Mainstreet is one of those organizations. Besides, in a multi Million dollar budget Steamboat needs and investment that will help put money back into the community and for that $100K seems like a good investment for the city.


ColoradoNative 8 years, 10 months ago

Casius so which business is yours downtown?

A parking structure is a LONG TERM solution to a problem this is growing. Have you not noticed that more and more developments are being packed in there without proper parking?

I see you are from the school of thought that got Steamboat in the mess it's in now. Had we not listened to opinions like yours we probably would have had a bypass 30-40 years ago "When traffic wasn't an issue".

The reality is downtown doesn't have much to offer locals in terms of shopping. I think most of us are heading to walmart, the grocery stores, Ace hardware as we pass through town. I seriously doubt the locals are out and about shopping for $9,000 rugs or $500 deer antler lamps.

It's funny you mention the cantina. I can't think of another bar in Colorado that has a louder patio than them. Raises voice as 9 tractor trailers roll by (((((Can I have another Beer please!!!)))))

Casius you need to step away from lincoln avenue a bit. The smog and noise is effecting your ability to think clearly. It's a mess and the traffic needs to be addressed asap before 700 and other developments really suck the life out of your precious corridor. Once more land is available for commercial development downtown you can expect more locals to pass right on through to REAL stores that locals need.

As far as the article stating that "5,000,000 will be attained" you do realize that figure was thrown out by the mainstreet organization itself.

Like I said before. Repaving mainstreet is a waste of money. Spending another 60k-100k for an events coordinator is a waste of money if the over all appeal of mainstreet continues to decline because of traffic, parking, and safety issues.

More flowers aren't going to fix your business. You need long term solutions to make the corridor appealing.

I think we just found another 60k-100k to hand to Mr. Duckels. The mainstreet merchants should match those funds as well.

It's time to face reality folks. The idea that "traffic isn't that bad, and parking isn't a problem is a joke". We can no longer ignore that fact we have a highway/parking disaster going through what use to be the heart and soul of our community.


btheball 8 years, 10 months ago

Can Mainstreet show us the money? Give us the facts and figures that correlate their activities to generated revenues?

And if their efforts and activities are so vital to these revenues, shouldn't/wouldn't the downtown businesses sponsor that, not taxpayers? Do the businesses really need a special events coordinator to organize their sidewalk sales?. The businesses would forget without the Mainstreet folks? Come on. I'm not sure that Towney's or Barnett's salaries are warranted, if they draw one. What is the Chamber doing?

Why is it that "Mainstreet decided not to go through with a vote on a business improvement district this year...and that money would have paid for improvements downtown. Voters narrowly rejected such a district through a mail-in ballot last fall."

I like tourists and recognize that we are a touist town. All the more reason NOT TO keep ignoring the WHITE ELEPHANT in the room the Highway that is Lincoln Ave.

What ColoradoNative said:


casius109 8 years, 10 months ago


First of all, I am not a business owner downtown, I just live downtown, and I take part in the majority of events that are provided to the community "for free". I figure I am paying the taxes for it, I should take part. I enjoy eating out downtown, I buy my CD's local at All that Jazz, Work out at the pool, and I can't wait for the Farmers Market to come back. I don't buy from the high end stores but I do find a lot of the things I enjoy doing with friends and family downtown. I agree with you that traffic is growing in Steamboat. I agree that a bypass should have been thought about long ago, but 30 years ago, Steamboat was not the destination it is today. To think that 30 years ago anyone could have known about this traffic problem today is just argumentative.

What will $100K get you with Duckles? Maybe a land survey group for a possible location? A Bypass will cost MILLIONS of dollars and take years to complete. I agree we need it, but in the mean time, would you take away family events that do help to create tax revenue, that could help pay for your bypass. Parking Garages are a long term solution, but when Gophers seems to be holding out for More Millions, the only possible location seems to be at the court house, but then you are still looking at a 3 Block walk to the rest of town.

Couple of easy solutions? How about a bus system that doesn't shut down at 10pm? Can't find bus drivers? Charge riders after 10pm $1 to ride the bus. Give 1/2 to the City for the "parking Garage" and the other 50 cents per rider to the bus driver as incentive to work until 2am, on top of their regular pay. An extra $50+ bucks is good incentive to work those tougher shifts. Doing this would help people who work downtown in the afternoons, the hardest time to find parking, to keep their cars at home and not take up the parking lots that are available.

Maybe it is time to start looking at paid parking on the street. Park City, which is a lot like Steamboat, already does this, with a simple, pay box that excepts cash, coin and credit cards, and there is only one pay box per block. They would fit right in with the 5 or 6 newspaper and ad boxes on every block. Use the money raised from parking to help for more parking and a bypass. It will also help to get people to use the free public transportation if they do not want to pay $1 per hour to park downtown. In the rest of the world people are used to paying for parking everywhere. So when those people come into town they will not have a problem dishing out a few bucks to unknowingly pay for more parking or for a Bypass.

It is time for a reality check as you put it, Colorado Native. Our little corner of the world has been discovered, now it is our turn to discover what the rest of the world has to offer us. It is a good time for people to get out of the valley and figure out what parts of the world would enhance Steamboat for the better.


bloggyblog 8 years, 10 months ago

blog has a question in regards to the proposed bypass. how is it supposed to alleviate traffic? from blogs perspective 95% of the traffic in steamboat is just people driving in and arround town(running errands, dropping the kids off, going to work etc.) how is a road that bypass's downtown supposed to alleviate traffic if your destination is downtown? while it would be great for truckers or drivers passing through steamboat this doesn't seem to be the case with majority of traffic. lastly at a recent economic summit on transportation CDOT reported that colorado is facing a huge road infrastructure deficit. couple that with the cost of paving growing exponentially and it leaves quite a few questions on the viability of a bypass. blog is not opposed to the idea of a bypass, i'm just looking for someone who can explain how its supposed to work.


Tracy Barnett 8 years, 10 months ago

Good ideas, Casius. Solutions rather than gripes. What a concept!


Fred Duckels 8 years, 10 months ago


When I drive through town I observe the vehicles around me. When I reach the other side of town I find that about 75% of vehicles are also through vehicles.


shadow 8 years, 10 months ago

Bloggy, You've identified the reason the bypass isn't in yet. However lack of funding is a problem the needs to be overcome. Regarding the bus being a major solution, it is already helping alleviate what would be a bigger problem, but it doesn't reduce truck traffic. Every tractor trailer supplying goods to west Steamboat, Hayden, Craig, & beyond goes through Steamboat, every load of gravel, concrete, trash etc going to or from the mountain requires two trips through Steamboat, two of our lumber companies are located on the west side, they deliver to the mountain and beyond several times a day, the other lumber company delivers to the west side several time each day, numerous contractors, landscapers, and materials supply business are located either on 20 mile or Copper Ridge or Downhill drive, these businesses travel through Steaamboat many times daily. The list goes on, UPS, FEDEX, SYSCO, making deliveries all impact the traffic. These are all large noisey, fume belching trucks that lock up traffic and make downtown hazardous to pedestrians. The bypass will eliminate a very high percentage of these vehicles in downtown because the drivers of these rigs would rather not be negotiating downtown traffic.


Fred Duckels 8 years, 10 months ago

Congrats Downtown Merchants.

Over the past several years I have heard a cavalcade of small inexpensive solutions to our infrastructure. I will not go into detail lest I fly into a tirade.

Your proposal for a parking structure is a pleasant suprise, in contrast to the decades of "small thinking" we have experienced.

An alternate route suggestion is now on the minds of a few as a possible solution to an obvious debacle.

For years I have said that we are not playing to win, only "playing not to lose".

Remember back a few years when Frederico Pena decided to build DIA? My Republician friends promptly denounced the effort as "Democrats In Action". Sure there was controversy, but can you imagine flying into Stapleton today? Leadership was necessary and Pena did not hold his moistened finger aloft to see what direction the wind was blowing. What would Denver be if no risks were taken? Developers were not going to build DIA!

As a community we must stop passing the buck to our decendents and take responsibility in our time.

These two projects boil down to common sense and a little of that would go a long way to unite a divided community.

We still have the public transportation advocates and someday their time will come. First they need a plan and be able to guarantee results. The parking structure and alternate route can do just that. Everyone can be assured that a marked change is coming.

First we need bold leadership to get the community behind the effort. Second, where there is a will there is a way. Snivelers can not be allowed to rule if Steamboat is to gain momentum and become an example for the 21st century.

Congratulations! again to our merchants for their willingness to dream. Full steam ahead, to the victors go the spoils!

Our elected officals will always cry "poverty". Their role in recent years is to critiques others efforts. Keeping a low non controversial profile seems to be the recipe for re-election. I have lived in this valley when poverty was a reality. Folks we are not in poverty!


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