Donor for downtown Steamboat flower baskets emerges


— A prospective Steamboat Springs homebuyer said he’s willing to provide some of the funding to save the flower baskets that line downtown each summer.

Richard Thompson, of SoHo, N.Y., said Thursday that he was surprised to learn that the city cut funding for the flower baskets that hang from light posts along Lincoln Avenue. Thompson, a Colorado Springs native, wants to buy a home and move his business to Steamboat. He said the flower decision has him reconsidering.

“I want to be part of the community, but I don’t want to start being part of the community if part of it goes away before I get there,” he said.

Thompson said he would contribute one-third of the first $10,000 for the flower baskets and their watering, but he challenged other residents, businesses and organizations to provide the rest.

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett was thrilled upon hearing of Thompson’s challenge.

“That’s fabulous,” she said. “And what’s really important about that is people outside the community who want to be part of the community think the flowers are important.”

Mainstreet Steamboat has been working with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association to save the flower baskets. The groups also have been working with the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs, which has bought and sold the flower barrels that adorn many storefronts all summer. All three organizations, which are scheduled to meet next week, are working together to figure out how to buy the flowers, which needs to be done by March, and water them.

The city’s costs for the flower baskets and watering — including watering the flower barrels — was about $8,500, Finance Director Kim Weber said.

Barnett estimated the cost to buy and water the flower baskets at $13,000. She said Steamboat got a better price for watering the flowers because it was part of a larger contract the city had with a independent contractor.

Thompson said he would like to move permanently to Steamboat. With him would come his business, Freshpet, which makes all-natural pet food.

Thompson said Steamboat still has the feel of an out-of-the-way mountain town with charm, and he thinks the flower baskets are part of that. He said losing something as seemingly simple as downtown flowers could result in fewer people like him buying homes and contributing to the tax base.

“You’ve got outsiders who want to buy here and don’t want to lose the ambiance,” he said. “It has a wider effect.”

Easter Egg Hunt

Barnett also is working to save the annual Easter Egg Hunt, which also was cut from the city’s 2012 budget. She hopes to raise about $1,000 to save the 36-year tradition.

“There are so many children in this community who have grown up for years with that, generations of kids who have grown up with the Easter Egg Hunt,” she said. “So we’re trying to make sure it doesn’t go away.”

Barnett said a majority of the costs is for the hay used to hide the eggs. The eggs are filled with candy and prizes for children 9 and younger.

She said it cost about $3,500 for the city to host the event. She is optimistic Mainstreet can do it for less using a combination of volunteers, sponsors and donors.

For more information or to donate, call Barnett at 970-846-1800.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email


Phoebe Hackman 5 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Mr. Thompson! That is really nice of you. And, as the owner of two dogs, I'm very happy to see a business like yours come to town. :-)


Brian Kotowski 5 years, 3 months ago

While I appreciate Mr. Thompson putting his money where his mouth is, what an enormously silly criterion for "being part of the community". If no flower baskets means Mr. Thompson stays away, then good riddance.


mtroach 5 years, 3 months ago

I guess i have lived here too long, I simply don't understand " outsiders". Thompson, wants to buy in, but won't unless we have flowers downtown, so he wants to fund them. Love the sprit. All we need now is three more " outsiders " to demand we take their money to fund downtown flowers so they can move to town.

Tracy, get some sort of fundraising effort started before this guy gets off the line!


Colette Erickson 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, heck yeah. Who needs aesthetics? I'd much rather the City support an entity such a ski corp. They REALLY have the interest of the community at heart. Oh, I know, they raised tix prices so they could contribute to the flower basket funding!

Glad someone is willing to step up and help. Thanks, Mr. T.


Amy Harris 5 years, 3 months ago

Yes, thank you, Mr. Thompson. Those flowers have always been so beautiful and an important part of our downtown presentation.


Kevin Nerney 5 years, 3 months ago

Hey Mr. Thompson don't go trying to spread your big city wealth around here. We don't take kindly to that around these parts. We like to take care of ourselves and if we can't afford flowers then we do without flowers. Hand-outs are for the liberals in the inner city.


BeCoolHoneyBunny 5 years, 3 months ago

Mountains? What mountains? I moved here for the flower baskets. Get real.


jerry carlton 5 years, 3 months ago

Phoebe You can get his dog food at Walmart in the refrigerated section whether he moves here or not. Have not seen it as I have no dogs but I have heard it on the radio. If taxes keep going up I may try it.


Phoebe Hackman 5 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, jlc. Still in Seattle and there are several places here that carry it. Nice to know I won't have to special order it when I get home, though. I still think it would be nice to have a a business like Mr. Thompson's in town, since SKi Corp seems to be going to the dogs ...


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