Emerald Mountain deal looks less certain for Steamboat

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— City Council gave hesitant support Tuesday for the city’s purchase of 586 acres owned by Lyman Orton on the north side of Emerald Mountain. But the 6-1 vote essentially was cast to keep the conversation alive, and a purchase depends on a significant reduction of the contract on the table.

Council President Cari Hermacinski cast the ‘no’ vote.

“Even if the city were in good financial shape right now, I would not support this contract,” she said. “I think this is just fraught with problems on the part of the city.”

If council approves the purchase on a second reading later this month, and if a Great Outdoors Colorado grant moves forward in a Dec. 8 hearing, the city would spend $700,000 from its capital projects fund for the land.

That fund is facing significant revenue shortfalls in coming years.

City Council’s vote authorized the spending of $5,000 for an environmental impact study required by GOCo, but only if Orton agrees to revise the contract and remove the city’s obligation to contribute as much as $150,000 annually for the next five years to help implement recreational and community-oriented visions for the land.

Councilman Jon Quinn said that “wonderful and beautiful vision” could be unattainable for the city amid a brutally tight budget.

“We saw some pretty grim numbers this morning,” Quinn said. “We’ll be subsidizing street repairs out of our general fund within two years.”

Comments

John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

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The budget crisis we are experiencing has the benefit of teaching us to order our priorities and live within our means.

This community still has tremendous resources, they just are not in government hands. Let us look for these among those who are the most impassioned supporters of this vision.

A private non profit entity can be a perfectly acceptable steward for the preservation of this land.

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mtroach 4 years, 2 months ago

A private non profit could also close public access.

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John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

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In this case the land would not be offered to an entity that did not commit to Mr. Orton's vision.

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1999 4 years, 2 months ago

mtroach..i am equally aprehensive of a situation where our city owns that land. not such a great track record there

I'm hoping mr orton keeps it the way it is with perhaps a lease agreement tothe city.

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pitpoodle 4 years, 2 months ago

Maintaining what the City owns now, usually paid for by the capital projects budget, and maintaining roads should both override proposed expense for purchasing new land that we can't afford. Just like in your personal household budget, it would be nice to have but, if you can't afford it, you don't buy it.

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John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

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Maybe we should sell Howellsen Hill to a private ski and bike company. It would be a nice chunk of cash for capital improvements and a whole lot less expense for the parks department. We could include development restrictions so it would still be there for us all to use with just a little higher ticket price.

While we are at it, can we sell the tennis bubble too? I would also suggest selling the Iron Horse but I guess that is not allowed.

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