Adam Mayo: Focus on Yampa

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— The accommodations tax was levied by locals to fund improvements that “promote tourism and enhance the vitality of Steamboat Springs as a premiere destination resort, and enhance the community identity, environmental desirability and economic health.” Reports indicate that most of the $600,000 annual purse may be available for other tourist-related amenities, beyond golf and tennis, beginning in 2014. Perhaps it is time to focus on more sustainable amenities, ones that require less year-to-year operational funding.

What improvements should we fund?

Tourists flock to Steamboat for mountain and snow-related activities in winter and mountain and river-related activities in summer. Tourists want an experience unlike their normal lives. That’s why they come to Steamboat — because it’s different, because it’s better.

One amenity that has long been underfunded is the Yampa River. Unlike every other resort community, Steamboat has a large free-flowing river gushing directly through downtown providing exceptional fishing, floating and viewing opportunities. The city conducted an extensive review of the river in 2008, culminating with the Yampa River Structures Master Plan. This year, the city plans to stabilize what’s left of the eroding banks at Rich Weiss Park, behind Rabbit Ears Hotel. This is one example of the nearly 100 projects that were identified yet remain unfunded. Starting in 2014, the city will have the funds necessary to implement the plan. Friends of the Yampa encourages the city to consider a new direction with the funds, focusing on improvements that highlight Steamboat’s unique character.

Adam Mayo

Friends of the Yampa

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