The city has received three proposals for new management of the Iron Horse Inn, all of which are local. A committee will interview the potential managers for the inn Monday, city’s Purchasing and Risk Manager Anne Small said.

Photo by John F. Russell

The city has received three proposals for new management of the Iron Horse Inn, all of which are local. A committee will interview the potential managers for the inn Monday, city’s Purchasing and Risk Manager Anne Small said.

Steamboat gets Iron Horse Inn proposals

3 potential managers of Iron Horse are local; 1 suggests use other than hotel


— All three proposals for new management of the Iron Horse Inn have local ties, and one includes a use other than a hotel, city officials said Monday.

Anne Small, the city’s purchasing and risk manager, said a committee will interview potential new managers for the embattled inn Monday. Interim City Manager Wendy DuBord and Small declined to discuss the specifics of the proposals. A committee will evaluate them before making a recommendation to Steamboat Springs City Council, which will select the inn’s next operator.

“There were three very different proposals,” Small said. “We had nothing pre-determined.”

She said the evaluation committee includes City Council members Meg Bentley and Bart Kounovsky, city Finance Director Deb Hinsvark, Planning and Community Development Director Tyler Gibbs, and members of the Steamboat Springs Building Corp.

Bob Litzau of the city’s Finance Department said the Steamboat Springs Building Corp. is a separate legal entity, “essentially a private company,” that legally owns the Iron Horse and is leasing it to the city. Litzau said the corporation bought the inn entirely with city dollars and the city ultimately is responsible for debt on the inn.

“It’s a legal issue that we had to do to accomplish the financing,” Litzau said.

Building Corp. directors incl­­ude Hinsvark; Dean Vogelaar,

president of the Steamboat bra­­nch of Mountain Valley Bank; and Dale Mellor, finance director for the Steamboat Springs School District.

The city terminated its lease agreement with former Iron Horse operators New West Inns and took over management of the Iron Horse in January.

New West operated the Iron Horse since November 2009 and encountered a series of financial troubles that left New West owing about $77,000 to the city.

Small and city attorney Tony Lettunich said Monday that nothing has been paid on that debt, which includes a $54,000 promissory note signed by New West manager Jesse Allison.

“We’re considering legal action both against New West Inns, LLC, and against Jesse Allison,” Lettunich said Monday.

He said he had no timeline for when that action could occur.

Small said the Iron Horse, between U.S. Highway 40 and the Yampa River just south of downtown Steamboat, has seen improved performance under city management.

“It’s doing very well right now,” she said. “Almost every Saturday they’ve been 100 percent full.”

City Council bought the Iron Horse Inn for about $4 million in 2007 in an effort to provide affordable housing for city employees. But the inn has struggled because of several factors, including the economic recession. The city’s debt service on the Iron Horse was projected to cost more than $340,000 in 2010.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or e-mail


exduffer 6 years, 1 month ago

And the other use is? Please tell me it is the new "Tubing Center of Bike Town USA"


Fred Duckels 6 years, 1 month ago

Politics prevent the lodging sector from speaking out against this fiasco.


Scott Wedel 6 years, 1 month ago

And why are the proposals being kept secret until the meeting instead of being open to the public so that they can reviewed for more than a few minutes at the meeting before a decision is made? Is it really that bad of an idea to allow the public to review the proposals and have a chance to analyze and criticize the proposals before the City Council makes a decision regarding Iron Horse?

I know every action regarding Iron Horse has been kept as secret as possible from the public and city staff has consistently kept issues secret such as unpaid rent until there is only one possible option, but maybe, at some point, it would become apparent that Iron Horse has been a consistent disaster mismanaged by the City and it is time for them to allow more public input than a few seconds between revealing proposals and making decisions.


Jason Miller 6 years, 1 month ago

Ok i got the scoop.The Iron Horse is going to be use as a training facility for the future exterminators of america


MsRed 6 years, 1 month ago

They don't share what's going on behind the scenes because they know the general public would be in an uproar, and since when do government & transparency go in the same sentence???


freerider 6 years, 1 month ago

Pick one:

FEMA camp Crack house Brothel Marijuana grow faciluty for the dispensary's Hell's Angel's retreat and spa Rehab center for Charlie Sheen New housing for the homeless [ this will never happen ] Training center for ACET complete with meth death bags

the suspense is just killing me what's it gonna be ???


exduffer 6 years, 1 month ago

I know, it is going to be the new teen rec center. Since we all know girls have cooties there should not be a problem.


kathy foos 6 years ago

freerider,here are my top three picks. 1.Rehab Center,its not far from the mental health clinic and there is a huge need for local rehab. 2.Homeless shelter for displaced workers who have lost their homes,help them get back up. 3.Hells Angles Hotels,(in reality containing the ACT ready to pick up ICE crimminals)


Jason Miller 6 years ago

I thought Colorado was Son of Silence turf.


cmc13 6 years ago

Well heard the city is going after Comfort Inn. Wondering if they will go Bankrupt after last seller backed out. So the city will be out the rent money and county without tax money, a win/win for Comfort. Whatever did happen to the money?


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