Steamboat Springs urban renewal group plans $240,000 in landscaping at Mount Werner Circle

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What: Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee discusses landscaping medians on Mount Werner Circle

When: 1:30 to 3 p.m. Thursday

Where: Creekside conference room at Torian Plum, 1855 Ski Time Square Drive

— Long-anticipated landscaping and beautification of road medians at the entrance to Steamboat Springs’ mountain village could begin as soon as June, according to officials with the city of Steamboat Springs and the Urban Renewal Area Authority.

“We’d like to go to bids in April and begin construction in June,” city Public Works Engineer Danny Paul said Monday.

The group responsible for making recommendations on behalf of the Urban Renewal Authority is scheduled to look at final design drawings from consultant Wenk Associates and compare them with its $240,000 budget in a meeting Thursday.

If the project goes forward, it would add additional landscaping to a traffic roundabout at Après Ski Way and Mount Werner Circle. The improvements also would add decorative hard-scaping and drip-irrigated perennial flowers and ornamental grasses in the medians on Mount Werner Circle that pass by the gondola transit center, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.'s parking garage, and The Steamboat Grand beyond the intersection with Burgess Creek Road.

It was URAAC, a committee of volunteers, that collaborated with city staff on the design and construction oversight on the $9 million-plus project that resulted in the creation of a snow-melted pedestrian promenade and the daylighting of Burgess Creek, which debuted in summer 2012.

URAAC co-chairman David Baldinger Jr. said Monday that although the budget for the median beautification is a fraction of the total URA funds spent on the promenade, it is important.

“It’s always been on our wishlist,” Baldinger said. “This isn’t the most expensive project — in the case of the creek, a lot of the money went underground. But this is pure glamour. I think it’s going to be really neat.”

Paul, who recently was named the URA coordinator for the city, said that while the work is definitely a URA project, because the medians are in the city’s right-of-way, the city will take responsibility for ongoing maintenance.

The plants in the medians will be chosen for water conservation and low cost of upkeep.

“Were trying to find a balance between how we make the medians look better and keep maintenance costs reasonable.”

Baldinger agreed.

“It was pretty smartly designed with a big eye to maintenance costs,” he said. “One of the main goals was to have it look great but also not have to be re-built each season. We wanted plants that thrive and survive well in a variety of climates and can take the snowplowing.”

Paul said the narrowest medians will be finished with a mix of tinted concrete and brick pavers. They also will see sections of a Western-style, stacked zigzag timber fence installed for decoration.

The drip-irrigated roundabout, which already has been landscaped, will be planted more densely with blue avena and little bluestem grasses and perennial flowers.

A portion of the budget will be devoted to extending an existing city water line near the roundabout up Mount Werner Circle and through the medians.

A wider median near the parking structure will be planted with aspens, perennials including Alpine aster, Russian sage and day lilies, as well a shrubs. Similar plantings will be installed in the wider median between the Ski Time Square parking structure and The Steamboat Grand.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

doug monger 1 year, 1 month ago

Yes it will be amazing to see how much private development (hence the URA and Tax Increment Financing) will ensue with the landscaping provided. I want to pick my flower. Can't hardly stand myself on the value of it all. This whole thing is a wish list that was financed by other entities taxes based on the concept of private development. Where is the private development other than what would have happened anyhow. The folly of it all is that the area gets declared a blighted area, and the Ski Time Square fiasco ensures that it truly is blighted. Go figure.

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John Weibel 1 year, 1 month ago

Probably makes as much sense as requiring a 100 year old building to have engineering done on it to ensure it can handle the snow, wind and seismic loads of Routt County. Go Figure.

All kinds of quirks out there that don't seem to make any sense to others aren't there.

Though, It might help, who knows. The base area sure looks nice and might entice people to buy those condos. Even though I thought it would not help. I just am glad I am not guaranteeing the loan.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 1 month ago

Property taxes diverted from the schools and county are paying for this.

This should be a lesson on why we should never approve another redevelopment district and dissolve the base area redevelopment district as soon as possible.

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Tyler Goodman 1 year, 1 month ago

A nicer base area means more visitors; more visitors means more revenue for local businesses and higher property values; successful businesses and higher property values means more tax revenue for local government and schools. Try taking a step back and looking at the entire picture.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 1 month ago

Anyone seriously believe that a nicer median would make that much of a difference?

And if the property owners thought it would make that much of a difference then they would be willing to pay for it themselves. Instead, they found a way to cut their share of property taxes going to the schools to pay for it.

Shameless.

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walt jones 1 year, 1 month ago

Back in January when City Council was listening to proposals for where to spend the lodging tax funds Cari Hermacinski said it best: “Is there a single tourist who would say 'I'm going to Steamboat because the medians look good'?". Same goes for this project as well.

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jerry carlton 1 year, 1 month ago

Unbelievable, but the sad part is that it is totaly believable.

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mark hartless 1 year, 1 month ago

Extend Tyler's logic to it's ultimate conclusion...

Free mtn. bike rentals means more tourists.

Half priced lift tickets means more tourists.

Free taxi rides from the airport means more tourists.

Half priced air-fare means more tourists.

Cheaper housing means more tourists.

Free, legal marijuana means more stoned tourists.

Hell, let's subsidize EVERYTHING and we'll all be rich... like we were back in 2006.

After all, it's not US paying for it, it's THEM... er uh...

All WE have to pay for is the bicycles, lift tickets, taxis, plane tickets,houses and pot. Then everyone will come and lay their money at our feet... which we will then carry straightaway to the bank which financed all the subsidies we used to get the tourists to lay all the money at our feet.

End result: Same money as we had before but more tourists. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 1 month ago

In entertainment there is the term "jump the shark" which refers to when a show has lost it's creativity and resorts to showy stunts to attract viewers. It originated as a critique of the Happy Days two part episode with part I ended with Fonzie on water skis about to jump a shark.

I propose the term "improve the median" for when a Steamboat government district has run out of plausible ways to spend money and so proposes to improve the median whether it be hwy 40 or Mt Werner.

URAAC should junk the idea and just give the money to the school district. Better schools are well documented to improve property values And the URAAC is capturing property tax revenues that otherwise would go the local schools.

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Martha D Young 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks for all the comments explaining that URAs take tax money which should go to the county and school system and spend it to "attract tourists". Urban blight is when a private developer is allowed to demolish buildings whose tenants generated property tax income, and replace those revenue-generating buildings with . . .rubble? nothing? Good city planning.

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