Steamboat Springs Big plans are brewing for this summer’s phase of the multiyear, $20 million redevelopment project at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
While recent summers have focused on public improvement projects such as traffic roundabouts, underground utility preparation, earthwork and snowmelt mains, the taxpaying public is on the brink of seeing the most visible and talked-about payoffs of the base area redevelopment.
In short, the promenade and Burgess Creek work are scheduled for completion this summer. And Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. is planning to build a permanent stage next to it, in Gondola Square, according to discussions last week.
Members of the Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee said Thursday that this summer’s construction schedule includes the highly touted public promenade from One Steamboat Place to Torian Plum Plaza; the daylighting of Burgess Creek, with amenities including seating areas and fire pits; and a vastly improved staircase connecting the immediate ski base to the Torian Plum area, along with a ramp, both replacing the current metal stairs.
“It is anticipated that we will complete all the work except some of the landscaping, and we’ll do that in the spring of 2012,” Steamboat Springs engineer Janet Hruby said. “It’s going to be a big year.”
Hruby said the city authorized its contract with Duckels Construction on Monday, clearing the way for work to begin April 11, the day after Steamboat Ski Area closes for the season.
Property manager Frank Alfone said Torian Plum awarded its contract to Duckels last week, which, he added, should create smooth coordination of the total promenade project.
Lyn Halliday, spokesperson for the city’s base area redevelopment, said work in April will begin on Village Inn Court, primarily with sidewalk widening. Village Inn Court provides access from the Ski Time Square Drive roundabout to businesses including Cafe Diva and Terry Sports. Halliday said some snowmelt and paver installation also will occur near the Torian Plum entrance off Ski Time Square Drive.
Promenade work will begin when weather and conditions allow, she said, and will start at the public walkway’s southern end, near One Steamboat Place.
“Our goal is to get a finished product as we move northward,” Halliday said.
Hruby said the promenade will match One Steamboat Place’s plaza as well as the fire pit and seating area installed last year next to Slopeside Grill.
“One Steamboat Place, the work they’ve done on their plaza is kind of a teaser, kind of a warm-up act,” Hruby said. “We’re going to give you the main event.”
For those interested in live music and entertainment, this summer’s main event actually could be next to the promenade, rather than the promenade itself.
Steve Frasier, president of Mountain Resorts and co-chairman of URAAC, said Ski Corp. intends to build a permanent stage in summer in Gondola Square. He said the stage would be close to where Ski Corp. has used temporary stages for outdoor concerts in winter, with a fixed roof and a larger, 40-foot-wide stage.
Frasier said the temporary stage is 28 feet wide. The permanent stage would have the same orientation as temporary stages, facing into Gondola Square and visible from the new promenade.
“That’s absolutely the plan,” Frasier said. “Ski Corp. already is moving forward with construction drawings.”
Ski Corp. President and CEO Chris Diamond confirmed the stage construction plans. He’s also planning a proposal to the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority, which administers base area redevelopment and consists of Steamboat Springs City Council members.
Diamond said he’d like to have public bathrooms installed beneath the stage, paid for by Ski Corp. up front, with a reimbursement of as much as $125,000 — half the bathrooms’ projected cost — from the city at a later date. URAAC voted Thursday to recommend approval of the proposal to City Council, which meets as the Redevelopment Authority at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday in Centennial Hall. Diamond is scheduled to present his bathroom proposal at that meeting.
Diamond said Ski Corp. would pay for the permanent stage. The city would share only in the cost of the bathrooms.
Frasier said that while public redevelopment plans never have included the construction of a permanent stage, they left the option open for private entities such as Ski Corp. to do exactly that.
“This is exactly the kind of public-private partnership the (urban renewal authority) was formed to attract,” Frasier said.
Increments of property tax revenues within the base area’s urban renewal authority fund base area redevelopment. Urban renewal authority revenues can fluctuate according to property valuations.
City Finance Director Deb Hinsvark said last week that the 2010 assessed value of base area properties totaled about $57 million, higher than the $54 million projected in city financing plans, adding a little “wiggle room” to redevelopment funding.
“It certainly makes the picture going forward look better,” she said.
Halliday expressed a positive outlook for this summer’s base area construction.
“The promenade should be finished, the daylighting should be finished, the lighting and the features should be finished,” Halliday said. “This is a big year, and it’s an important one. A lot of the work we’ve done so far has been underground.
“Hopefully, this is going to be worth all the wait,” she continued. “I think it’s going to be real exciting.”
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or email mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com