Steamboat Springs Construction of a Burgess Creek diversion and a large public plaza on the north edge of the Steamboat Ski Area base is scheduled to begin Aug. 3.
The project represents the first visible manifestations of efforts to bring the creek above ground through the base area and to construct an all-seasons promenade around the immediate ski base. Plans for the diversion structure and plaza, which will be constructed between Slopeside Grill and the Thunderhead redevelopment site, were discussed Thursday during a meeting of the Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee.
It was URAAC's first meeting since Steamboat Springs City Council approved moving forward with a $12.5 million bond issue to continue Urban Renewal Authority's work on public improvements at the base area. According to the schedule provided by Redevelopment Coordinator Joe Kracum, design work on the full promenade and Burgess Creek improvements will begin in July, with a construction start date scheduled for April 12, 2010, one day after Steamboat Ski Area is expected to close next season.
The construction of the diversion structure is a less glamorous precursor to the larger projects, but URAAC members were excited Thursday about the possibilities for its accompanying plaza. Members noted that its location between Slopeside and the future Thunderhead project will make it a logical point on the promenade that could be accentuated by a sculpture, fire pit or other feature to draw people to the area.
"This is going to be a really nice space over there," URAAC member Jon Wade said.
There was consensus on URAAC to move a large trash compactor and recycling bins now located outside Slopeside to an area just south of the entrance to the Torian Plum parking garage. URAAC member Chuck Porter described the garage entrance area as more utilitarian and appropriate for garbage collection; the committee and other city officials quickly dispensed with other options that left the compacter and bins near the future plaza.
"This is the front porch," Porter said. "That should be an area of animation and activity, not trash."
URAAC also discussed whether to include a snowmelt system on the promenade and how it would be powered, but its members made no decisions.
This year's construction and design work will be conducted by Duckels Construction and Wenk Associates, respectively. The two firms have been with the URA since its first projects, but City Council members including Walter Magill and Cari Hermacinski have called for URA work to be re-bid.
Kracum said it's too late to re-bid this year's projects if the city wants to see construction this year, but he said he will work with council members on a process to satisfy their concerns. Kracum has expressed support for the existing team, noting that it works well together and produces good work on time and at a reasonable cost. He said Duckels' construction costs have gone down each of the past two years.
"I'll do what I'm directed to do," Kracum said. "What I do know is the cost, the quality and the schedule has been excellent."
Kracum said Steamboat should be concerned with getting the best value, not just the best price. He also noted the team's commitment to stick with the projects during a difficult past six months when it was unclear whether the URA would run out of money this year and be unable to continue its work.
"There's more to it than just dollars," Kracum said. "When relationships work, they work well, and it's hard to build good working relationships. : There's been a commitment, and I really saw it in the last couple months. : This whole team has gone above and beyond what they were contracted to do."