Chris Paoli: Learn about projects | SteamboatToday.com

Chris Paoli: Learn about projects

Chris Paoli

Thank you to the accommodation tax committee, and thank you to the Steamboat Springs City Council. For the past 12 months, it has been my privilege to work with an excellent group of passionate community members on the Yampa River promenade project. This group consists of residents who live, work and raise families in Steamboat and love this town. The same qualities are shared by the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance.

It would be easy to feel emotions of disappointment and frustration after the final outcome because the Yampa River promenade project did not receive full funding. This is not our group reaction. Our reaction is one of appreciation, excitement and optimism. Twelve months ago, when our group began to meet on the heels of the Urban Land Institute adviser panel report, we had no money, no specific game plan and minimal community support. What we did have was a very talented and creative group of passionate community members with very diverse skills and backgrounds focused on enhancing the visitor experience offered by Steamboat.

Within an hour of the first reading by council, numerous times I was asked, "What can your group do with $900,000?" The quick answer is plenty. Our first priority is to use this seed capital to allow the city to procure the park sites along the Yampa River. This will preserve and protect these legacy parcels as we proceed toward our final vision for the project. Here is why we are so appreciative and optimistic:

■ City Council and the community now are educated about a vision for Yampa Street.

■ City Council has voted to make the promenade, Yampa Street and access to the Yampa River a priority.

■ We have $900,000 to leverage with other funding sources, including private landowner contributions, grants, transfer of development rights funds, urban renewal authority funds, etc.

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■ Most importantly, the Yampa River promenade group has cause to continue these worthy efforts. This group consists of business owners, attorneys, real estate developers and engineers who now have been given a very large spark and vote of confidence.

Steamboat is a great place, and we all benefit when we work together. We look forward to working with the Trails Alliance on getting the vote out in November and then moving these projects forward. For those who have not followed the process or projects closely, I recommend getting educated at http://www.yampariverpromenade.com and http://www.steamboatspringstrails.com.

The accommodations tax process, debate and discussion on the priorities for our city's future has served us all well.

Chris Paoli

Yampa River promenade team

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