Sally TeStrake: Broadening our focus

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I disagree with the editorial published in Tuesday’s edition of the Steamboat Today (“Keep it rolling, Steamboat”). I believe it is short-sighted to give 90 percent of the accommodations tax revenues to the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance. While I agree that growing our bike trails infrastructure improves the quality of life for all of us, I think we should broaden our focus.

By splitting the funds between the Trails Alliance and the Yampa River promenade proposal, everybody wins. Growing access to the Yampa River and improving safety for locals and visitors alike regardless of whether they are bicyclists, able-bodied or not, young or old, would be the benefit of the Yampa River Promenade. The promenade will be a year-round amenity, not just one used in the summer months.

Your editorial was also in contrast to Joel Reichenberger’s Sunday Steamboat Pilot & Today article “Search for biking bucks.” Mr. Reichenberger’s piece points out that “pinning any sort of economic windfall on a citywide bicycling focus is difficult.” If you want to look at a group that has experienced larger growth than bicycling, look to the increase in the number of people who walk for exercise, which has grown by 17 million in the past decade, as the article states.

I don’t understand why you are such avid proponents of awarding 90 percent of the accommodations tax fund to the Trails Alliance when both groups could accomplish their goals by sharing the money. Your business will likely grow whether all 90 percent of the funds are awarded to one or both entities. Who can predict if you may gain more with a 50/50 split between the two groups?

I will be conveying my request to the members of the Steamboat Springs City Council and urging them to reconsider splitting the accommodations tax revenues between the two proposals: 45 percent to the Trails Alliance and 45 percent to the Yampa River Promenade.

Sally TeStrake

Steamboat Springs

Comments

John St Pierre 11 months ago

The Yampa trail system I would like to point out is used as much by "walkers" as it is by people on bicycles... in fact I would submit that on any given day 'walkers" more so.... the bicyclist for the most part I observe are of the "casual" type on the trail.. with the most avid "cyclists using the open streets and roads....

The simplest way to create the Promenade would be for the city to make it part of an overall area development plan that property owners must include in their property development plans and build at their own expense as is done in may other cities. Or thru the proposed " Urban Redevelopment Authority".. the properties could be seized thru "emminent Domain" and funded & built thru funds available to that Authority..ie.. a TIF or special tax area..... both of these would be at no cost to the city... Not to mention that most of the benefit of the Promenade is to the property owners who cannot sell their included properties or would be part of or around it as an enhanced feature.

The city looked at what is the greatest good for the broadest spectrum. In the end the citywide trail along the Yampa attracts the greatest amount of people because it has a broad appeal,while the Promonade would be an "side addition" to the trail and saw the promenade for what it really is : a bail out for properties that have sat on the market for yrs & increases the property values of a select few

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Scott Wedel 11 months ago

The Yampa Promenade will cause a voter revolution if it is a massive taxpayer gift to the Yampa St property owners.

Proponents of the promenade have done a poor job of describing what parts are in the street right of way vs what is to be done on private property and what private property is to be acquired and the costs of each portion.

Overall, I think the accommodations tax has been used to benefit the largest number of people and not to greatly benefit a select few.

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Scott Ford 11 months ago

In the big picture we all want to see a better Steamboat Springs - a better place not only for our visitors to visit but for all of us to live as well. We share that in common. I would hope that City Council plans to have an objective discussion about the data to support the wisest use of the $6 million. Before we spend this kind of money we should have some basis other than merely hoping things will work out.

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Scott Wedel 11 months ago

I think there is no particular reason to even pretend a decision is being made to spend six million dollars on trails. All this City Council will be approving is the spending for year one of a proposed 10 year plan. The next City Council is not constrained by the spending decision of this City Council and could change how next year's accommodations tax is to be spent.

I think it is pretty apparent that there is plenty of room for improving trails around town and those will be popular. But I expect a year by year decision on whether to continue to spend money on trails.

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