Our View: Go ahead with trail project

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Editorial Board, Sept. 25, 2011, to January 2012

  • Scott Stanford, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners were wrong for being so quick to dismiss collaborating with the city on a project to extend the Yampa River Core Trail west of Steamboat Springs.

The county has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funds in recent years — and similarly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money — on road and bridge projects in remote parts of the county where very few residents will ever travel. So how is it that a project to add pedestrian connectivity between some of the county’s biggest neighborhoods and Steamboat doesn’t merit similar consideration?

During a joint meeting of the City Council and Board of County Commissioners last week, Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak essentially told the city she wasn’t interested in setting aside any money that would help pay for an eventual trail extension.

Stahoviak and fellow commissioners Doug Monger and Diane Mitsch Bush agreed that restoring county employee salaries is their top priority as funds become available. We take no issue with the county’s elected leaders placing significant importance on restoring staff pay previously cut during the economic downturn.

But the manner in which Stahoviak dismissed City Council member Walter Magill’s request for county partnership was unnecessary. It also begged the question of whether Stahoviak and Monger need to be reminded that Steamboat Springs residents as well as those who live in Steamboat II, Heritage Park and Silver Spur are their constituents, too.

The Core Trail is one of Steamboat’s greatest amenities, and the city’s efforts to extend it to the east and west throughout the years have been commendable. Indeed, more connectivity is needed within city limits, particularly from the Riverside, West End Village and West Acres neighborhoods.

Extending the trail west of city limits to the neighborhoods of Steamboat II, Heritage Park and Silver Spur and beyond is part of the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan. Those residential areas west of the city are key to our community’s future ability to provide affordable housing for families and the workforce. Trail connectivity to the county’s urban center of Steamboat Springs is an important amenity.

The project won’t be easy or cheap — right-of-way acquisitions, route planning and engineering, trail construction and maintenance agreements are all part of the eventual process — but it will improve the quality of life and safety for many who call Steamboat Springs and Routt County home. Kudos to Diane Mitsch Bush for being the one commissioner to recognize the trail project’s potential to positively impact the lives of thousands of residents and visitors. Her fellow commissioners should take her lead and re-engage the city in discussions on how to begin planning for joint ownership of the project.

In the meantime, the city should not allow itself to be discouraged by the reaction of the commissioners and should continue to press forward with trail extension projects within the city limits.

Comments

captnse 2 years, 12 months ago

Bike path needs to follow hiway 40 and Not cut thru peoples homes. If you Plan on using eminent domain to aquire Easements for future bike path prepare for costly legal Battle.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 12 months ago

Difference is that a bridge in a remote part of the county is a required for access.

This trail is hardly required. It is a amenity for citizens in SB's sphere of influence. County has agreed that this property is to become party of SB and so has agreed that any development of that parcel will go through SB city planning involving an annexation. Thus, county is no more obligated to help build this trail than it is to clear snow from SB city streets even though SB city residents are also county residents.

If this trail was an inexpensive project then it would be fair for County to assist with their road graders and so on. But if this is to be an expensive project then the county is absolutely right to stay out of it.

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rhys jones 2 years, 12 months ago

We've all seen 'en waste our money on dumber things. I say go for it!! As far as who pays, let the infighting begin; it's still our money.

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beentheredonethat 2 years, 12 months ago

By far the best use of my tax dollars. Please proceed with plans to extend the core trail all the way to Heritage Park. In particular a note of gratitude to Ms. Busch for having the required vision and energy to be a great representative. Hope we can succeed in educating Nancy and Doug and get them to agree to cooperate with the City.

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mtroach 2 years, 12 months ago

Forget about educating nancy and doug, nancy will soon be gone and if we are lucky someone will contest for dougs seat and he can be replaced as well.

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boater1 2 years, 12 months ago

wouldn't getting more cars & congestion off the road be a desirable effect for all? providing a safe bike route for all those homes would help w/ this. Stahoviak & Monger are dinosaurs of the past and must go!

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boater1 2 years, 12 months ago

also all you driving fans who hate bikes, wouldn't you be happier having bikes of the highway too?

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rhys jones 2 years, 12 months ago

yvb -- Would you be happier if we extended the trail on the south side, maybe out toward your place? Then you wouldn't have to worry about those pesky cars either, as you join us on our new trail!!

Just kidding, and have a Merry Christmas!!

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 12 months ago

In Nancy and Doug did consent to "optional" spending like this project, it would only move the next item on the "want list" to the forefront, and the "guilt trips" could start anew. I fear a new election and the possibility of elected officials eager to spend the money of others. Changes to the commission could totally alter the county by allowing the recreationist- environmentalist community to run roughshod. This brings back memories of city councils past and the unpaid bills that remain outstanding while we pursue bigger fish. If the city is eager to spend, maybe some of the AH debts could be revisited. Real Estate sales are very important to the Pilot's welfare and this should be disclosed when helping to steer the boat.

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steamboatsconscience 2 years, 12 months ago

duck of course you want your nepotistic buddies to stick around. how else would you get those no bid jobs? Mongrel and Stovie have been entrenched long enough,they feel they are above the will of the people, time for some new blood in the Commish office. And the reason most people come here is for recreation and our fairly clean environment. Not to see oil and gas rigs or your equipment tearing up some road to nowhere Freddie boy.

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sledneck 2 years, 12 months ago

Fred, I hear that steamboatconscience has developed technonlgy to allow roads and oil rigs to built using rainbows and unicorns!

Wonder how many rainbows and unicorns it took to fuel the planes loaded with those who "come here for recreation..."? Are the baby unicorns pumped into the plane's fuel tank or put in with pitchforks? Wonder how many tons of rainbow and unicorn dust are drifting down into the Zirkel Wilderness Area out of those planes full of environmentally friendly skiers? Wonder how many groceries would be on the shelf if unicorns hauled it over the pass on rainbows instead of roadways? I fear, with people like steamboatconscience at the helm we are bound and determined to find out.

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steamboatsconscience 2 years, 12 months ago

neck you forgot that the unicorns also can shoot skittles out their posterior. rainbow ones at that...... butt the point is and gee whiz ...I thought that you would agree that its time these commissioners are ready for their pink slips, Fred's scared he won't be buddies with any new blood because they may not be stuck in the past like he is. Hey I might just run, I could use the $70 or 80 G's these guys make, for doing WHAT? Merry Christmas to ya bro! Peace.

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sledneck 2 years, 12 months ago

Steamboatconscience, I actually DO agree that it's time for Nancy to go. I am glad she is stepping down. I would also love to see someone give D. Monger a run. We totally agree on that.

However, replacing either one of them with a Towny Anderson type would only prove the old addage that "all motion is NOT progress". This county needs representatives who understand a basic concept of early 21st century America... WE ARE BROKE!!! And, on the local level, it has been activists operating FAR, FAR outside the domain of government who got us there.

I am not privy to information that would allow me, in good conscience, to basically accuse Fred Duckles of corruption so I will leave that to others. Furthermore, I tend to be less inclined to blame the mouse (Fred) for taking the cheese and more inclined to blame the housekeepers (our elected officials) who left it out on the floor; that's assuming there actually WAS something dishonest about the "road to nowhere". I view Fred Duckles' job as completing a project that he was assigned. I view it as our elected officials job to authorize and fund ONLY those projects that are prudent for the community. Someone might have dropped the ball; I'm not sure it was Fred.

I hope your holidays are enjoyable too. Thanks.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 12 months ago

Even if we are not actually broke, the free money is gone and there needs to be solid returns on investments.

Paying a lot of money for an easement maybe via eminent domain through a property that is slated to be developed at some point at which point the trail becomes a required connecting road

Second, as the length of a trail increases then typically the number of users decreases. Even if it is wonderful trail then the number of people that will take it will be limited because the distance from SB II to SB is still a couple of miles.

Third, it will not eliminate ped or bike use along the parallel hwy 40 and so has fewer potential users than claimed. The users that are already comfortable using hwy 40 will be under no great compunction to switch. Hwy 40 is likely to be more direct than a trail.

Thus, I think it is extremely doubtful that it will be worth significant investment. If the property owner is willing to grant access and city and county can use their heavy equipment to quickly grade and minimally surface a trail then it'd probably be worthwhile inexpensive project.

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sledneck 2 years, 12 months ago

Yes but, um... we ARE broke... Lacking funds. Bankrupt. Skint. Penniless. Church mice. Insolvent. Negative cash flow. Debt slaves. Weighed in the balance and found wanting. Beggars. Starving artists.

One need only look a few centimeters beyond todays balance sheet to understand that just maintaining the current infrastructure is going to force us as a county, a state and a nation into massive debt just to hold our ground.

I see government as a fool (who is, from his money, soon parted) who can not afford to paint his house, mow his grass, make his car payments or buy groceries; but instead of concerning himself with that he was last seen with a set of bluprints rolled out across the hood of his pickemup truck, showing the contractor the massive addition he wants to build onto his crumbling home.

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 12 months ago

City of SB is certainly not broke and has enough money to maintain infrastructure with money left over to waste.

Routt County is not broke and is able to maintain infrastructure and provide essential services, but with little money left over.

State of Colorado is falling behind on maintaining infrastructure.

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rhys jones 2 years, 12 months ago

Peep Peep -- I was hatched for this!!

My software specializes in construction estimating, and with just a minor tweak or two I can make it work for you too, give you a number guaranteed accurate to $100K+/-, all for a paltry $20K or less, probably. (there ARE some wild variables)

I figure we can counter-claim the legal challenges to Eminent Domain as frivolous, reducing legal costs to $0.

Give me a call!! I'm the cheapest consultant you'll find.

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sledneck 2 years, 12 months ago

Why does a city that is not flat broke continue paying interest on money loaned to it for uh, I don't know... The Iron Horse???? Why not pay that loan off?

Why put city staff on 4-day work weeks? Why all the talk about funding challenges for education? Is there money in the bank for fleet upgrades, where is the money for the flowers on Lincoln Av.? Does the city have the funds in the bank for all the water and sewer infrastructure that needs replacing? Why did it strain at finding grants for Emerald Mt.??

Apart from prestidigitation and double entry accounting they are BROKE. Johann Wolfgang von Goeth was right in calling it "one of the finest inventions of the human mind".

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