Steamboat Springs I am disappointed that you resist matching funds raised by Howelsen Emerald Mountain Park for development of Emerald Mountain Park. I assume you understand that provision in the agreement does not legally bind the city to allocate matching funds in future years. It will, instead, be up to the City Council each year to vote to match H.E.M.P.-raised funds.
This raises the question: Why include the provision in the first place?
As the community’s leaders, your commitment to consider matching community support during the ensuing five years is critical to H.E.M.P.’s ability to raise funds. Emerald Mountain is a sacred place to my fellow residents, a place that is so special that its future must not be left to chance.
The vision for Emerald Mountain is for a year-round park that is accessible to all residents. Many people have told me they believe Emerald Mountain is the most frequented place of nature in town. It draws people. That’s what special places do.
However, no matter that draw, if you are physically unable to get up — or down — you cannot currently experience Emerald Mountain. The vision for Emerald Mountain Park opens that opportunity to residents of all ages and capabilities.
Were it not for the prospect of Great Outdoors Colorado providing $600,000 — but only for a short window — we might go about this differently. We could put the challenge to the community to raise funds, then come to the council; proof of widespread community support.
But it would be a shame to lose those GOCo funds, which will happen if you don’t do the deal now. That’s why I propose to sell the land at $750,000 less than the appraised value, but on the condition that the council demonstrates its moral commitment to the vision. I am willing to forgo that money, but I want it to be used to making the vision a reality.
My position is that although you won’t be legally bound to match funds in the future, you will have to grapple with how you respond to a clear indication from the community that it supports the vision by pulling out its wallet, something that I think will happen.
If you remove the matching provision from the agreement, it sends a negative signal to the community and significantly reduces the incentive for the community to give.
Indeed, the financial condition of the city is difficult. But Emerald Mountain is a forever investment in the quality of life of Steamboat Springs, and the opportunity is now. My motivation to do this deal is now. The community and I need to see that you are sufficiently motivated to fully participate to make the deal happen.
Please reconsider your position and lead the community toward this vision as only you, our elected representatives, can do.