Cutting back base plans

Under tight budget, Urban Redevelopment Authority re-examines projects

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— Three years and millions of dollars later, plans to construct a promenade and daylight Burgess Creek at the base of Steamboat Ski Area remain just that. With budget constraints threatening to delay the projects even further, frustrations are building on the city's advisory committee for base area redevelopment.

"The promenade was really the whole driving part of the URA," Chuck Porter, general manager of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, said at Friday's meeting of the Urban Redevelopment Authority Advisory Committee. "That's why we got involved. That was the project. These other projects were add-ons. I want to get the promenade done."

URAAC advises the Steamboat Springs City Council on public improvement projects in the city's urban redevelopment area, which was created in 2005. The authority issues bonds to pay for the projects and, within its base area boundaries, receives property and sales taxes more than a base amount to repay them.

The URA's projects began last year with improvements to Ski Time Square Drive. They are scheduled to continue this year with the construction of a roundabout at Mount Werner Circle and AprÃs Ski Way. With the hopes of a city loan, there also were hopes to do about $1 million worth of design work this year for future projects - including the promenade and Burgess Creek improvements.

But with a weakening economy and city officials hoping to boost their financial reserves, hopes of a loan have evaporated.

"It became very evident to me that asking for a $1 million loan was the wrong thing to do," Redevelopment Coordinator Joe Kracum said.

To make do with the money it already has, Kracum proposed a scaling back of this year's roundabout construction. Cuts to the project include landscaping and irrigation work, leaving out a portion of sidewalk on the north side of AprÃs Ski Way and using striped crosswalks instead of colored concrete ones. Kracum said the deferred items could be added when the URA reconstructs the intersection of Village Drive and AprÃs Ski Way in 2009 or 2010. The proposed measures reduce the cost of the project from $2.99 million to $2.54 million.

"The intersection is about as scaled back as we want while maintaining full function," Kracum said.

Kracum also proposed measures that would cut the $1 million in design costs to $200,000. Those measures include an innovative design-build deal Kracum is discussing with the URA's construction contractor, Duckels Construction, for the intersection of Village Drive and AprÃs Ski Way. Under the deal, Duckels would hire the URA's design consultant, Wenk Associates, and include the design costs in its bill for actual construction.

But a similar deal would not be possible for projects as large as the promenade and daylighting of Burgess Creek because of their cost, Kracum said.

"We're asking someone to take something on a handshake - to take a risk on a handshake," he said. "There's a limit to that. And there's a limit to what I'm going to ask for."

For those projects, Kracum plans to return to the URAAC with a plan for limited design development work. The work would not rise to the level of producing construction documents or even quantity estimates such as the amount of cubic dirt that will need to be moved or lineal feet of pipe that will need to be laid. Cost estimates, as a result, will be vague at best.

Noting that the promenade and Burgess Creek projects are the URA's top priorities, some committee members, including Porter and Bill Jameson, suggested this year's construction be delayed so more resources can be devoted to them. Others, such as Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond, said that's not a logical proposition.

"I would adamantly oppose stopping the momentum," Diamond said.

URAAC co-chairman Jack Ferguson said it's a tough question the committee will have to decide in recent weeks before making a recommendation to City Council on April 8.

"These are all good projects, and we'd like to move forward with them," Ferguson said. "We want to keep some of the momentum going and show the community things are happening, but we want to get the promenade and Burgess Creek going, recognizing it's going to be a multi-year project."

Comments

hubiem 6 years, 7 months ago

if there is a need for more money to daylight burgess creek and build the promenade, then i think they ought to nix the roundabout at apres ski and mt werner circle. that intersection is kind of funky, but there is never any real traffic there. no matter which direction you hit that intersection, you never ever have to wait very long to get through.

even if money were not the issue, i think they ought to nix the roundabout at apres ski. the real traffic problem is at ski time square drive and mt werner circle. that intersection needs a roundabout more than any other in the mountain area. that intersection backs traffic all the way back to the new roundabout in ski time square, and sometimes around the roundabout and back past the new bus stop. it sucks waiting in a line of traffic that is trying to leave ski time square when you are trying to drive into ski time square. one day it took almost ten minutes for me to get from the roundabout to the stop sign at the end of ski time.

just think how bad the traffic coming into and out of ski time will be when all the new condos and businesses go in in the next few years. that intersection is going to become more of a problem as time passes.

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scooter 6 years, 7 months ago

If they don't do it now: it will never get done!

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thinkpeople 6 years, 7 months ago

It seems to me that the city has being lead astray by Joe Kracum. The fact is the pomenade and improving pedestrian traffic flow at the base WAS the main objective of the URA. Here's the problem, the Coordinator's job wasn't done correctly from the beginning.

The first thing that needed to be done was to arrive at an agreement with all of the property owners on where the promenade was going to be built. The next job was to then get them to agree on how to pay for Operations and Maintainence.

Kracum couldn't get either of those accomplished easily, so he went to the easiest place... city land. No owners to have to deal with and NO one on Council that would stand up and say NO!! And remember how he and Duckels get paid.

And I agree, this Apres Ski trurn around is not needed today. More importantly has anyone noticed that there is a huge construction site right there... that concrete trucks and supply trucks feeding the One Steamboat Place construction project use that intersection all day long. So right in the middle of it Kracum wants to tear up the intersection? How do they get paid again?

It is no different than him spending 4 million dollars to build the Ski Time Square turn around one year before the demolition begins at Ski Time Sq. What type of impact will all of the semi's hauling away all of the debry have on that investment? Not to mention all of the concrete trucks that will be in and out of there for the next 3 to 4 years. My bet is that 4 million dollar investment will already be beginning to look beat up by the end of next summer. Maybe Kracum and Duckels can get the contract to RE-DO it.

We have a NEW City Council. It is time for them to say NO. Go back and get the promenade figured out. That is your first and only objective. And if Kracum and Duckels don't make money by spending the time necessary to acheive the promenade agreements and they leave... so be it. Go back and open up the original Base Area Study done by Clausen... GET THE PROMENDAE BUILT and when the dust settles, rebuild the raods then.

Call your Council members... tell them it's about time the CITY starts running the Base Area Redevelopment instead of Kracum.

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