Business improvement district board works to create survey

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— The newly revived board of the business improvement district in downtown Steamboat Springs continues to work toward getting a funding question on November’s ballot.

“First, we have to figure out what the businesses would want,” Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said.

The board now is creating a survey that would be distributed to businesses and property owners asking what they’d be interested in using potential BID funds for.

“We’re trying to get the biggest distribution possible,” board president Bill Moser said.

From the survey responses, the board would be able to get an idea of what the priorities are and how much those would cost. A total cost would allow the board to determine the correct funding level to put on the ballot.

The BID would be funded by a property tax or special assessment on real estate, but there are multiple ways the tax can be calculated.

The funding would have to be approved by property owners and lessees in the district, which includes the core downtown area on Lincoln Avenue and Yampa and Oak streets from Third to 12th streets.

The survey results will help determine the priorities for the BID, but Moser gave the examples of street lighting, benches, marketing and signage.

“Stuff that would be very important to making it easier or more accessible for a visitor or even a local to spend some time here and give some depth to downtown,” Moser said.

“This will give some sort of an impression that we have more than just one main drag. We’re trying to give the downtown a different feel, trying to give it a slightly different look.”

The BID also would be important to fund maintenance of downtown amenities.

According to Moser, city officials have indicated that they would like to have BID funding in place before considering the topic of a urban renewal authority for Yampa Street.

The BID board also is working on putting together a website, Barnett said, that would provide information such as what the district boundaries are, what a BID can and can’t do and provide another place to solicit survey responses.

Moser said that the step after collecting survey responses would be to put out more detailed information about the results and what raising the funds for those priorities would mean for each property owner.

“It’s a very tough education project,” Moser said.

Barnett said that the board has to declare for the election by the end of July but has time after that to work on specific ballot language.

“We’re on track at this point in time,” Moser said. “But there’s a lot of work to be done.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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