Downtown stakeholders discuss Tuesday ways they can attract more people to the downtown area.

Photo by Scott Franz

Downtown stakeholders discuss Tuesday ways they can attract more people to the downtown area.

Yampa Street revitalization effort expands focus

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— What started months ago as an effort to revitalize Yampa Street has evolved into a broader mission to attract more people to downtown Steamboat Springs.

A group of 12 downtown stakeholders met Tuesday in Centennial Hall to discuss the growing effort to bring more events downtown and make it more pedestrian friendly.

“It’s really not just about Yampa Street anymore,” Mark Scully said at the start of the hourlong meeting.

He added that he anticipates what previously was called the Yampa Street revitalization steering committee will grow to include more stakeholders on Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street.

Scully, the managing director of Green Courte Partners, said the 22-member committee is in the early stages of identifying a revenue source to fund major improvements to the downtown area.

“We are still learning as a group of the advantages and disadvantages of the various funding mechanisms and listening to the needs of the constituents downtown,” he said.

He said the committee plans to hire a consultant in the next 90 days to help determine which funding mechanisms would be appropriate to pursue in 2013. The funding sources the committee is considering pursuing include an urban renewal authority, a downtown development authority and a business improvement district. Most of the funding mechanisms would generate revenue for downtown improvements through incremental tax increases that would require voter approval.

And as they take more time to consider how to fund downtown improvements in the coming years, the revitalization steering committee is focusing on projects it can complete in the summer with private funds to set the stage for a bigger makeover.

“I think it’s really important to start to show everyone in Steamboat we’re starting to go down this path,” Scully said.

He said the most immediate changes to downtown are slated to include the addition of benches, planters and events.

Stakeholders spent much of Tuesday’s meeting discussing how to introduce new events and amenities to the downtown area this summer.

Bicycle jousting. Country music. Ice skating. The group threw out plenty of proposals it thinks could bring more people to Lincoln Avenue, including a summer concert series or festival on Yampa Street that could take place one Thursday each month.

“People are excited about this because it’s fun and it’s good for the community,” Steamboat Planning Director Tyler Gibbs said about the revitalization discussions.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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