Julie Underdahl, the president and CEO of the Cherry Creek North business improvement district, talks to downtown stakeholders in Steamboat Springs about how a BID has benefited Cherry Creek.

Photo by Scott Franz

Julie Underdahl, the president and CEO of the Cherry Creek North business improvement district, talks to downtown stakeholders in Steamboat Springs about how a BID has benefited Cherry Creek.

Mainstreet Steamboat resolved to get funding for downtown business improvement district passed in November


— Julie Underdahl told a crowd of downtown Steamboat Springs stakeholders Wednesday that copious amounts of coffee likely will be a key ingredient to them getting a property tax increase passed here in November.

“It also really just takes a few champions,” she said as she outlined how personal meetings, many times over coffee, with property owners in her business improvement district in Cherry Creek North were important to getting them to sign off on a tax increase that would benefit them.

Underdahl, the president and CEO of the Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District, headlined Mainstreet Steamboat Springs’ annual meeting Wednesday.

Mainstreet Manager Tracy Barnett kicked things off by promising 2014 would be a year things “ramp up” here in downtown Steamboat.

There’s a Yampa River Promenade to start building with the help of the accommodations tax money, and another election to try and get Steamboat’s downtown improvement district funded.

Underdahl outlined how the business improvement district she oversees has helped to keep Cherry Creek North one of the most frequently visited spots in the state.

And she said just like it was in Steamboat six years ago, recent votes to renew the funding among property owners in Cherry Creek district always have been close, and never easy.

“Sometimes these things can seem hard, and they can feel hard, but I can tell you once they get done, most people get on board,” Underdahl said. “I don’t really hear anyone saying, ‘We don’t like your streetscape improvements.’”

The BID in Cherry Creek has an annual budget of $4 million and was created in 1989 because of a fear that the development of the nearby Cherry Creek Mall would put merchants in the neighboring district out of business.

In Steamboat, many downtown leaders say now is the time to once again try to get the business improvement district funded with a property tax.

The funding could be used for such things as maintenance, marketing and other beautification projects.

But the last vote to fund the BID here failed by just six votes in 2007.

“We just lost by a smidgen last time,” said Bill Moser, the president of Steamboat’s newly resurrected BID board.

Today, he’s determined to see the vote go the other way.

“We do know we’re going to win this particular go-around,” he said.

Barnett said Mainstreet and the newly seated BID board are working to schedule meetings with stakeholders to get a consensus on what they would like a funded BID to accomplish.

Moser said the committee working toward the election in November is a “very successful, very respected and very committed group.”

The board includes property owners from the three main downtown streets.

The downtown BID encompasses most of downtown on Lincoln Avenue and Yampa and Oak streets from Third to 12th streets.

Only commercial property owners, lessors and tenants will vote on the potential tax increase.

Moser encouraged downtown property owners to start talking to one another about the BID.

“Education on this is very necessary,” he said.

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

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Martha D Young 3 years, 3 months ago

Last time around the tenants of the buildings whose taxes would increase voted in the BID election. Since the building owners shift the tax burden to their tenants, tenants have a right to vote. No taxation without representation.


Michael Bird 3 years, 3 months ago

Our BID location building would benefit from a fresh paint job to preserve it as it still looked good so we had it done. A sidewalk was needed so one was installed. Dead and dying trees needed to be removed so we had it done Landscaping was also done. .As a building owner it is called personal responsibility to care for one's property. Marketing and advertising expenses were paid for but not with tax money. What a concept - use your own money to promote and improve versus using tax money. Since an automobile is essential for business, there is no reason that BID tax money shouldn't be used to buy me a car plus pay to keep it waxed and cleaned as personal responsibility is no longer needed.

What about funding this grand concept with voluntary contributions ? Let those who support it pay for it. Would non-contributors benefit ? Probably but maybe most would also then join in to contribute. And ,if not, so what ? Would it sustain itself on contributions only. There is only one way to find out. Try it. If it were to fail, it is a clear indication of a lack of support. If it succeeded, great. Would it not make more sense to attempt this approach ? Why does one always start with a idea of a tax without first trying all other alternatves ?

The BID board is certainly capable of running a voluntarily funded BID thus eliminating all but incidental administrative expenses. These savings alone would go a long way to fund projects. This is just one alternative to try.


Scott Wedel 3 years, 3 months ago

If the BID has revenues of $4 million then the cost of the administrator is a small part of the overall budget so even if you don't like it there is enough money available for programs. For SB's BID, I'd be most concerned that most of the budget is going to be consumed by an administrator and required support services such as accounting and public notices.

And the justification of the BID seems focused on improving one part of downtown and yet is including additional properties to get enough revenue. It may not be taxation without representation, but it is one group strongly supporting it seeking to include just enough others that may be predominately opposed to still win the election and yet collect their taxes.

So Michael Bird is being represented in terms of having a property which they'd like to collect taxes, but his vote isn't enough to stop those seeking to spend the taxes on their projects from winning the election.


jerry carlton 3 years, 3 months ago

Go ahead and pass it. Prices go up. Another reason to not buy local!


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