Duckels Construction worker Jose Gonzalec power washes the stone along the creek that started flowing this week at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Duckels Construction worker Jose Gonzalec power washes the stone along the creek that started flowing this week at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

Creek flowing at Steamboat Ski Area base

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— The soothing sounds of waterfalls and a gurgling creek are now audible at the base of Steamboat Ski Area after a much-anticipated water feature was turned on Tuesday.

“The flow looks pretty incredible out there,” said Steve Frasier, co-chairman of the Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee. “It looks great.”

Finishing touches and landscaping are being completed around the promenade construction project that started in 2007 and cost nearly $10 million. The creek had run beneath the ski trails in a culvert for 45 years before the project was undertaken. The work was paid for using the proceeds of bonds that were backed by the city’s tax increment financing, which captures growth in property taxes at the base of the ski area.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration of the completed project is expected at the end of June and might coincide with the kickoff of the Free Summer Concert Series. The June 30 show is at the base area and will feature Dark Star Orchestra, a Grateful Dead tribute band.

With the completion of a major project, members of the Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee, or URAAC, met Thursday to discuss future projects. There is about $1.26 million available for public improvement projects in 2012, and $600,000 is being spent to finish work on the promenade. Another $40,000 is being set aside for furnishings at the base area, such as bike racks, trash cans and water fountains for humans and dogs.

The group is considering spending nearly $250,000 on landscaping at the Mount Werner Circle roundabout, but there is a desire to plan that work in conjunction with additional signage, wayfinding and possibly a new entry feature.

“We’re just not comfortable that we have a good plan yet,” said Chris Diamond, a URAAC member and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s president and chief operating officer.

Members of URAAC want to find an alternative to the existing resort entrance sign at Mount Werner Road and Central Park Drive, and there was a discussion Thursday about somehow utilizing the historic Butterfly Barn located near the back of the Meadows Parking lot.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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