Photo by John F. Russell
Construction crews were hard at work at the base of Steamboat Ski Area on Thursday afternoon as efforts to improve the base area continue to move forward.
Steamboat Springs Anyone interested in previewing the new pedestrian promenade at the base of Steamboat Ski Area need go no farther than Torian Plum Plaza.
Crews working with Duckels Construction already have completed a small private portion of the larger public project immediately in front of restaurants at Torian that border the ski slopes. The new brick pavers cover a snowmelt system.
City of Steamboat Springs Engineer Janet Hruby, who is overseeing the project, told members of the Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee on Thursday that after a protracted mud season delayed work this spring, a decision was made to install the pavers in front of businesses in Torian such as Saketumi and Slopeside Grill so they could begin hosting outdoor dining.
Despite the snow that seemingly refused to melt at the base of the ski area through May, Duckels is optimistic it can get back on schedule this summer and complete almost all of the public promenade.
ResortQuest Steamboat General Manager Frank Alfone, whose company manages the Torian Homeowners’ Association, said the timing of the public promenade work dovetailed nicely with Torian’s need to repair the leaking roof of its parking garage. The HOA decided to upgrade the landscaped roof of the parking garage to be consistent with the public improvements that will daylight nearby Burgess Creek and create points of interest along a snowmelted walkway linking Après Ski Way on the south side of the ski area with Ski Time Square Drive on the north side.
“The work at Torian is ahead of schedule, and Derrick (Duckels) is working hard” to catch up and complete all but possibly a small piece of the stream before next year, Hruby said. Technically, the construction contract gives Duckels until May 2012 to finish up work on Burgess Creek, which is being brought above ground.
The original battle plan for this summer anticipated that work would begin on the south side of the promenade and work north, but the delays have caused the construction crews to work from both ends toward the middle.
Hruby explained that they reasoned they might have to wait for completion of a new outdoor performance stage being built by the ski area before they can complete the middle section of the promenade anyway.
Work on installing snowmelted pavers in Gondola Square is nearly complete, Hruby said, and workers are installing stonework in a circular pattern at the south end of the creek.
City Finance Director Deb Hinsvark told URAAC members they should be able to spend a portion of $1.3 million in unrestricted funds they previously hadn’t counted on for additional public improvements in the base area. The cash materialized thanks to savings generated primarily from reduced interest payments resulting from restructuring bonded indebtedness on the project.
The public improvements at the base of the ski area are being funded by property tax incremental financing on private property at the resort, backed up by the city.
Hinsvark said she would recommended to the Steamboat Springs City Council that it reserve half of the $1.3 million to help build up a fund representing a year’s worth of payments on the debt.
Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said City Manager Jon Roberts is recommending that a portion of the freed-up money be used to take public streetscape landscaping on Mount Werner Circle between the Gondola Transit Center and the Steamboat Grand to completion.
DuBord said City Council members have relayed to Roberts numerous complaints from the public about the lack of landscaping.
URAAC is scheduled to meet again Aug. 4 in the Torian Creekside conference room.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com