Steamboat Springs From landscaping and a playground, to an ice skating rink and tethered balloon rides, there has been no shortage of ideas thrown out for using the site of the demolished Ski Time Square commercial area.
Developers The Atira Group want to hear more.
On the heels of the Steamboat Springs City Council's decision to table redevelopment plans for the property until January, largely because it wants to see a plan for igniting the area between now and redevelopment, Atira is soliciting ideas to do just that.
"I think the whole idea is to involve the community," Atira Vice President for Development Mark Mathews said. "We've come up with some ideas, but the whole idea is we might have missed something."
Mathews asked that suggestions be sent via e-mail to email@example.com.
The Atira Group is redeveloping Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge on behalf of Washington, D.C.-based Cafritz Interests, which bought the properties in 2007. Anticipating immediate redevelopment, the existing Ski Time Square buildings were demolished in 2008, with the exception of the Tugboat Grill & Pub. Atira is requesting a 10-year vesting period for the development.
"I think that probably everybody on council, if you ask them, has a different idea," City Council President Loui Antonucci said. "What are we going to do so it's not an eyesore and enhances the area?"
Antonucci didn't offer any ideas of his own except to say that he doesn't think an outdoor ice rink is feasible. Antonucci said he would like to see an attraction such as ice or snow sculptures, a venue that could be booked for special events or anything else that would attract a crowd to the area.
The demolition has created a struggle for the remaining businesses along Ski Time Square Drive and is an annoyance to neighboring condominium owners.
"The area is totally deserted," Torian Plum resident Ron Harelson said at an August meeting of the city's Urban Renewal Authority Advisory Committee.
At the same meeting, committee members discussed an idea presented by URAAC member Peter Patten to base a tethered hot air balloon in the area. Although the committee reacted favorably, Mathews said he has since spoken with some operators and thinks it may not be a good idea, though he hasn't ruled it out.
"We aren't going to discount things," Mathews said. "Let's throw them in. Some of them are going to make sense. Some of them won't be practical. : The idea now is let's get some ideas."
Other ideas Mathews has mentioned include modular, self-contained businesses and kiosks operated by businesses that would like to have a presence on Ski Time Square Drive. At the council meeting, Mathews said he also has spoken with Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. about relocating its temporary music tent from the Knoll Parking Lot.
Andy Wirth, Ski Corp. senior vice president of sales and marketing, said he and Ski Corp. President Chris Diamond have a meeting with Mathews this week to discuss ideas for the site.
"We have a number of ideas," said Wirth, who would not be specific about the ideas before the meeting. "We're going to do everything to help him achieve the desired results. It's all good news, and stay tuned."
City planner Jonathan Spence said he met with The Atira Group last week to discuss ideas, but he said city officials are relying on the developer to come up with a plan that satisfies the City Council.
"As much as council dropped it in both our laps, it's really the property owner's responsibility," Spence said.
Joe Kracum, the city's redevelopment coordinator for the base of Steamboat Ski Area, noted that the Urban Renewal Authority plans to install new signage promoting the area and also plans to install some sort of feature, such as a Christmas tree, in the middle of the Ski Time Square roundabout. Kracum agreed with Antonucci that he would like to see special events such as concerts and fairs in the area, but he also said The Atira Group was taking the right approach by soliciting ideas from the community.
"People in the immediate area are those that know best," Kracum said. "The ideas that come from the people who are there are probably the ideas that will work."
Kracum and URAAC member David Baldinger Jr. praised The Atira Group for what it already has done with the former site of Thunderhead Lodge. The developer is allowing the URA to use the demolished site as a staging area for its construction projects, saving the city money and giving construction crews immediate access to work areas.
"The good news is Atira has been very helpful in accommodating the redevelopment by allowing the URA to use the Thunderhead site for staging and will continue to," said Baldinger, who works on Ski Time Square Drive and said he would like to see at least small steps taken on the former site of the Ski Time Square buildings. "It would be nice by next summer to have some revegetation, landscaping and some basic, nicer outdoor areas."