Diners sit on Sweetwater Grill's outdoor patio overlooking the Yampa River last month. Downtown stakeholders are meeting Monday to discuss potential funding mechanisms for Yampa Street improvements.

Photo by Scott Franz

Diners sit on Sweetwater Grill's outdoor patio overlooking the Yampa River last month. Downtown stakeholders are meeting Monday to discuss potential funding mechanisms for Yampa Street improvements.

Stakeholders meet to explore funding mechanisms for Yampa Street improvements

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager says several funding options on the table

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Past Event

Community meeting about financing Yampa Street improvements

  • Monday, October 22, 2012, 5 p.m.
  • Centennial Hall, 124 10th St., Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / Free

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They have plenty of energy.

They have a clear road map.

But stakeholders working to kickstart a major revitalization effort on Yampa Street still must figure out how to get what eluded the stakeholders before them: the money to pay for it all.

A lack of funding, and political will, has kept grand visions for transforming Steamboat's funky riverside roadway in the pages of dusty, thick plans for decades.

A public meeting Monday night at Centennial Hall will explore ways to secure the dollars needed to change that.

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said Sunday that downtown stakeholders are early in the process of identifying a funding mechanism that could spring the plans into action and also fund the upkeep of the entire downtown area.

From funding the city's already established Business Improvement District to establishing a new Urban Renewal Authority, Barnett said plenty of funding options are on the table.

And big changes can't come until one is adopted

“The designs and everything on Yampa Street will come, but you cannot do anything until you figure out how to pay for it,” she said.

Downtown stakeholders and members of the public are invited to attend Monday's meeting that will be headlined by Denver Urban Renewal Attorney Carolynne White.

Her visit will be followed by a talk next month from Anna Jones, a member of the Urban Land Institute panel that traveled to Steamboat in June to chart out a plan of action to revitalize Yampa Street.

Barnett said White, who previously has served as the staff attorney for the Colorado Municipal League, will talk specifically about the legal ramifications behind each potential funding mechanism for downtown improvements.

“This kind of starts the educational process on what can happen with all of these funding sources,” Barnett said.

She said it will be important for stakeholders to understand what kinds of improvements each of the potential funding mechanisms actually could support, and what it takes for each to be adopted.

Many would require the backing of a majority of downtown business and property owners, some of who Barnett acknowledged feel it would be difficult to embrace any additional taxes.

She added that stakeholders also must discuss and negotiate how any additional revenue for downtown would be distributed.

Mainstreet and the downtown stakeholders it represents still have another year to plan for any potential ballot question in 2013 seeking approval of a funding mechanism for the improvements.

Their mission could get a boost if the city of Steamboat Springs is able to finalize the relocation of its emergency services off of Yampa in the coming weeks.

The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday voted to start negotiating the sale of their police and firefighting headquarters to Big Agnes and Honey Stinger for $2.1 million.

If it is finalized, the sale would add a new retail presence on a portion of the street the city has called a “dead zone.”

Sensing new energy and political will to embark on the revitalization project, stakeholders have started to meet regularly to chart out a path for their desired improvements.

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

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