Chris Paoli: Learn about projects

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Thank you to the accommodation tax committee, and thank you to the Steamboat Springs City Council. For the past 12 months, it has been my privilege to work with an excellent group of passionate community members on the Yampa River promenade project. This group consists of residents who live, work and raise families in Steamboat and love this town. The same qualities are shared by the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance.

It would be easy to feel emotions of disappointment and frustration after the final outcome because the Yampa River promenade project did not receive full funding. This is not our group reaction. Our reaction is one of appreciation, excitement and optimism. Twelve months ago, when our group began to meet on the heels of the Urban Land Institute adviser panel report, we had no money, no specific game plan and minimal community support. What we did have was a very talented and creative group of passionate community members with very diverse skills and backgrounds focused on enhancing the visitor experience offered by Steamboat.

Within an hour of the first reading by council, numerous times I was asked, “What can your group do with $900,000?” The quick answer is plenty. Our first priority is to use this seed capital to allow the city to procure the park sites along the Yampa River. This will preserve and protect these legacy parcels as we proceed toward our final vision for the project. Here is why we are so appreciative and optimistic:

■ City Council and the community now are educated about a vision for Yampa Street.

■ City Council has voted to make the promenade, Yampa Street and access to the Yampa River a priority.

■ We have $900,000 to leverage with other funding sources, including private landowner contributions, grants, transfer of development rights funds, urban renewal authority funds, etc.

■ Most importantly, the Yampa River promenade group has cause to continue these worthy efforts. This group consists of business owners, attorneys, real estate developers and engineers who now have been given a very large spark and vote of confidence.

Steamboat is a great place, and we all benefit when we work together. We look forward to working with the Trails Alliance on getting the vote out in November and then moving these projects forward. For those who have not followed the process or projects closely, I recommend getting educated at www.yampariverpromenade.com and www.steamboatspringstrails.com.

The accommodations tax process, debate and discussion on the priorities for our city’s future has served us all well.

Chris Paoli

Yampa River promenade team

Comments

Mark Ruckman 9 months ago

Chris, your website doesn't have a contact email so I will ask my question in the public forum.

The site is informative but I was left wondering two questions 1) is the plan to close Yampa St to traffic to gain the room for all of the parks? The designs look nice but I don't recall that much space being available between Yampa St and the river.

2) During Summer & Winter parking downtown and especially along Yampa is very difficult. If your plan is to attract more people to this area to hang out what is the plan to deal with the need for additionally parking? If you build it and people get frustrated because they can't find parking, will people come? We already skip going down to Yampa for our Friday lunch dates because we can't find parking.

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chris paoli 9 months ago

Mark,

Thanks for the questions. Sorry for the slow reply. I do not typically post online and needed to get an account verified. The plan is not to close Yampa. The final street would have parking and two way traffic. The speed would be reduced, but relative to the current parking and bike lane I do not think it will be much smaller. In checking with a member of the promenade group who has done most of the engineering, it looks like there will be 9' for parking and two 12' lanes for traffic. A total of 42'.

Your comments on parking are spot on. Parking is an issue. From what I know, there appear to be two parts to the problem. One, a parking management problem with too many downtown employees using the current street parking and two a supply of spots problem.

A large component of the promenade project involves improving the connections to Howelsen Hill through lighting, signage and other improvements. One plan for parking involves the use of Howelsen Hill and the rodeo grounds. Creating a more inviting walk over the 9th Street and 5th Street bridges would increase the use of these areas for parking.

Everyone agrees parking is an issue which needs to be addressed. There are a number of ways to solve the problem and they are the topic of many conversations. The promenade is not being discussed in a bubble, without the big picture of downtown being considered. If you would like to offer input or thoughts on this subject (downtown and the promenade), feel free to contact me and attend one of our meetings. My email is chris@mybrokers.com.

Thanks again for commenting.

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Scott Wedel 9 months ago

So if the promenade will generate an additional $1.3M in sales tax revenues then that means it will generate an additional $15M in annual sales.

So what business owners aren't willing to make investments that will be paid back in just weeks of additional sales? Thus, obviously the Yampa St business owners do not themselves believe in these projections.

So why should the public believe that sort of projection? Obviously, Yampa St property owners would like public funding for improvements and are willing to say anything to get the public funds.

Just like the CEO of the Chamber promised 140,000 occupied airline seats if the public passed the tax which was quickly shown to be a complete lie.

Maybe one of these times the public will learn to stop believing the obvious lies made by local business interests seeking public funds.

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Scott Wedel 9 months ago

Downtown actually has a plan for parking. It is parking at the transit center just west of downtown and taking public transportation.

Or you could be sneaky and park at the Iron Horse's largely empty parking lot and have a nice walk to downtown.

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Mark Ruckman 9 months ago

Thanks Chris, I can understand why the council pushed to give this project funding too.

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