Steamboat Springs City officials approved $75,000 Tuesday night to boost upcoming downtown events and regional summer marketing campaigns.
The Steamboat Springs City Council voted, 5-2, to give the money, which comes from a pool of excess 2009 funds, to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association for a summer marketing package presented to the City Council in April. The $75,000 package consists of $35,000 for broadcast media promotions in Denver and Front Range markets in June; $25,000 for “pulse campaign” efforts to promote specific events, such as the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Steamboat All Arts Festival, to regional markets; $10,000 for efforts to promote Steamboat Springs as a conference and group meeting destination; and $5,000 for the promotion and execution of upcoming downtown events, facilitated by Mainstreet Steamboat Springs.
Council members Meg Bentley and Walter Magill voted against the allocation. Magill cited the city’s tight budget — city employees remain on a furlough program that cuts their pay and hours by 10 percent — and asked whether now is the time to bring people to Steamboat, where the downtown corridor is in the middle of a massive repaving project.
Chamber Marketing Director Lynna Broyles said although the broadcast promotions on Front Range NBC and CBS affiliates will occur for three weeks in June, those efforts will focus on drawing visitors for the entire summer. Work on the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Lincoln Avenue repaving project will end for the season June 30, if the project is not completed sooner.
“The bulk of our summer, and our highest visitation, actually occurs from basically the last week of June through the second to third week of August, so we’re still looking at the bulk of summer for people to choose to travel up here,” Broyles said.
Mainstreet’s Tracy Barnett said the $5,000, which is in addition to $5,000 the City Council designated earlier this year for downtown promotion, will go a long way toward executing three upcoming downtown events. The events are collectively titled “Dig Downtown,” as a nod to the construction work.
The first is a discount program from May 12 to June 18. Barnett said participating restaurants and retailers will hand out cards, upon a purchase, that give 20 percent off a food order or retail item at another participating business.
The second event is Restaurant Week, May 24 through 31, through Memorial Day weekend. Broyles said participating restaurants would offer discounts with a theme of $20.10, to commemorate the year. Mainstreet sponsored its first Restaurant Week a year ago.
The third event is a “sidewalk sale” Memorial Day weekend.
“The sidewalk sale may not be actually happening on the sidewalks, depending on construction,” Broyles said.
The City Council allocated $500,000 of excess 2009 revenues in March, giving $250,000 for efforts to improve Howelsen Hill and $250,000 for projects in several city departments. Another $250,000 is set aside for potential one-time performance bonuses for city employees, but council members voted to decide on that expenditure in August, when the city has a clearer picture of this year’s sales tax revenues and finances.
City Finance Director Debra Hinsvark said excess 2009 revenues could total as much as $1.4 million, from over-budget sales tax revenues last year and money-saving efforts by city departments. Hinsvark said the 2009 audit should be completed in about two weeks.
Barnett said the $5,000 approved Tuesday would allow Mainstreet to promote the downtown events without contributions from downtown businesses. Broyles said the larger marketing package is crucial to bring summer visitors to Steamboat.
“We need to do everything we can right now … to maintain our competitive advantage against other mountain resort communities in Colorado,” she said.
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org