Steamboat Springs The clock is winding down on the city’s hotly contested Steamboat 700 vote, which will tip the scales one way or another for the future of growth in Northwest Colorado.
City employee Kim White said it’s been “a busy, steady day” at City Hall’s front desk, where voters have been showing up all day to turn in ballots on the proposed annexation.
The vote ends at 7 p.m. today, and results are expected shortly thereafter at the Routt County Courthouse. Check www.steamboatpilot.com for updates.
The Good For Steamboat committee, supporting the annexation, is hosting a party at Rex’s American Grill & Bar, adjoining the Holiday Inn on U.S. Highway 40, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Steamboat 700 principal and project manager Danny Mulcahy will give brief thank-you remarks to supporters at 6:30 p.m.
“If people are supporters of the annexation and of Steamboat 700, we would love for them to come down and be among like-minded people,” Mulcahy said this afternoon. “They all contributed to the community over the past three or four years ... one way or another, everybody did their best, and all those people are more than welcome to come down.”
The Let’s Vote committee, opposing the annexation, has not announced a gathering tonight. Spokesman Tim Rowse could not be reached Tuesday afternoon.
Supporters and opponents of the annexation have spent time on Lincoln Avenue downtown today, waving signs and attempting to sway every last vote in an election that many community members have said is difficult to predict.
That makes tonight’s result all the more suspenseful, especially for those who have a great deal hanging in the balance.
“All of us have kind of been holding our breath to see where this is going to go,” said Mary Alice Page-Allen, asset and program manager for the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.
The YVHA supports the annexation, which would provide land and a revenue stream. If it fails, Page-Allen said, the YVHA would need to look elsewhere for those assets and change its planning for future years.
“Until we know which direction to take, then those conversations can’t happen,” she said today. “Either way it goes, it’s going to be a topic of conversation about how we continue to move forward.”
City Manager Jon Roberts took a more relaxed point of view, citing the likely lull in activity in coming weeks, with either result.
“I don’t know that a lot hinges on this vote — we’re not aware that necessarily any substantial amount of development activity would begin immediately,” he said.
But Roberts will be watching tonight.
“As we get closer to 7 o’clock, I think the anticipation will build — I’ll be eagerly awaiting the results, along with everyone else,” he said.
City voters’ decision on Referendum A will determine whether to uphold the Steamboat Springs City Council’s Oct. 13 approval of Steamboat 700’s annexation and the annexation agreement, which provides the framework for development at the site.
Steamboat 700 proposes about 2,000 homes and 380,000 square feet of commercial space on a 487-acre site just west of current city limits, over a 20- to 30-year timeframe for development. Voters can receive and drop-off ballots until 7 p.m. today at City Hall, 137 10th St.
Routt County Elections Supervisor Vicki Weber said Monday that results could be finalized shortly after 7 p.m. As soon as results are available tonight at the Routt County Courthouse, they will be posted on www.steamboatpilot.com and the newspaper’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and also distributed through cell phone and e-mail alerts. Readers can sign up for those alerts on the newspaper’s Web site.
Mulcahy said his development team was prepared for either result.
“No matter what, there’s a lot of work to be done,” he said.
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org