For all the fun they’ve had on Yampa Street, all seven members of the newly seated lodging tax committee that will help to oversee the funding of improvements on Yampa also have some horror stories to share.
As she was interviewing for the committee Tuesday night, local attorney Meghan Lutterman recalled how she nearly has hit bikers, walkers and dogs while pulling out of the home she used to live in on Yampa.
Other committee members said there aren’t enough lights or sidewalks.
One of the applicants for the committee even said that without the riverfront access, he would consider Yampa Street to be a “ghetto.”
Steamboat Springs City Council member Kenny Reisman added to these stories later in the council meeting when he said he was concerned to see some cars now parking halfway into the street during the winter.
He said the problem is only getting worse.
The seven members of the steering committee who were interviewed and appointed Tuesday night all said they wanted to see the street become more pedestrian friendly and attractive.
Their first challenge will be to help decide how $900,000 of the city’s lodging tax money can best be spent to make that happen.
In addition to Lutterman, the committee members include attorney Jason Lacy, prominent community member Stuart Handloff, Realtor Chris Paoli, downtown developer Mark Scully, businessman Jarrett Duty and attorney Jill Brabec.
Several of the new committee members made it clear they see the purchase of a lot at Seventh and Yampa streets as a top priority.
Proponents of the Yampa River Promenade have said they want to use the lodging tax dollars to purchase the lot and convert it into a park.
“That’s really the anchor we need to tie down,” Duty said when he was interviewed by council members. “Definitely the land purchase is the key to this happening.”
But in making the appointments to the new lodging tax committee, the council chose some members who don’t see the purchase of the park as the top priority.
Lutterman, for example, said the $900,000 should be spent on making Yampa a “more walkable area.”
And committee member Lacy said the purchase of the Seventh Street parcel is “an interesting option,” but he wasn’t certain it should be the only thing the new lodging tax committee considers.
“I’m just really excited to see some dollars available to start moving the vision we’ve had for Yampa Street ahead,” Lacy said.