Grant funding for some Yampa Street improvements will be competitive, limited

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— The new Yampa Street lodging tax committee learned this week that getting grants to help make a promenade on Yampa a reality will be competitive, and complicated.

Winnie DelliQuadri, the city of Steamboat Springs' grant specialist, spent much of the committee's second meeting on Monday going over the possible grant opportunities for the project.

She kicked off the discussion by cautioning the group that grants shouldn't drive how the committee prioritizes parts of the project.

“Establish your priorities first, and then I'll start talking to grant managers,” she said.

But the grant opportunities for some parts of the promenade could be limited.

For instance, using a Great Outdoors Colorado grant to help purchase a parcel of land at Seventh and Yampa streets to convert it into a pocket park could limit development on the parcel and ultimately prevent the construction of a much desired bridge over to Howelsen Hill.

“It would be a real stretch” to build the bridge if GOCO funds were used on the land, she said.

The construction of a stage or art installations on the parcel also could be prohibited because the grant funding would restrict development on the parcel to recreational amenities.

DelliQuadri said there could be other potential grants available to fund specific parts of the Yampa street scape including bike racks, benches and other infrastructure.

And what about the 16- to 24-foot sidewalk proposed to be part of the promenade?

DelliQuadri said the city has in the past used Colorado Department of Transportation funds to help construct the Yampa River Core Trail, but using that funding could be more limited on the promenade because it is proposed to be pedestrian only and not for bicycles.

The CDOT funds typically focus on creating new transportation routes that alleviate congestion on roads.

DelliQuadri also spent some time talking about how competitive the grant cycles are and how many pots of money, including from Great Outdoors Colorado, are shrinking.

Monday's lodging tax committee meeting wasn't without some optimism, however.

City staff outlined past and future Yampa Street projects.

Progress in 2013 included a lower speed limit and the successful implementation of reverse angle parking.

The projects slated for this year include an extension of the Core Trail from Backdoor Sports to Sweetwater Grill and some possible expansion of the new style of parking.

Planning Director Tyler Gibbs also talked about the long-term potential to turn the street into a more pedestrian-friendly amenity.

He said it may not be a “perfectly straight” and “pristine” street scape in the end, but that may be OK.

“We're going to have to be creative as we go along, and I think it's fine,” Gibbs said. “In the end, it may make it more attractive and more fun.”

The promenade project, including the possible pocket parks, will receive $900,000 worth of the city's lodging tax likely over the next three years.

The tax committee will meet again Feb 12 for a tour of Yampa Street.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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