Diane Franklin: Bury the lines
January 6, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Randy Hays' letter to the editor ("Love this town") published Dec. 30 would have made me laugh if it didn't make me so angry at the city of Steamboat Springs regarding utility poles in Old Town. Obviously Mr. Hays was not looking around in Old Town, and obviously, the forward-thinking people forgot to bury the utilities in a major part of Steamboat.
In 1992, I was first promised that the utility lines and poles in downtown Steamboat would be buried soon. I proceeded to invest a million dollars building a home and being assured that the ugly utility pole and lines running across the front of this home would be buried soon. Years went by. I would check and ask when the poles and lines would be buried. Soon, I was told. I sold that home and began a major remodel of a second one, again investing a great deal of money. There was a utility pole in the middle of the lot in the alley. I had to enter my garage from the alley, a city requirement. The lot is only 25 feet wide, so I found that I needed to have the pole moved, and I buried the lines and put in conduits for future lines to be buried. I struggled with Yampa Valley Electric Association, Qwest and Comcast all summer getting their stuff buried. The cost to me was $10,000. Several times I asked when would the utility lines be buried and poles removed? I was told that they had a plan and were budgeted to do a street or alley every year and they would begin with the alley between Lincoln and Yampa because of all the new construction along that alley. Then every year from that year, 2007, another street or alley would be done.
My property is on Pine Street and backs up to the alley between Pine and Oak. While talking to the city it was determined that, as per their schedule, it would be four to five years and they would get to the alley between Oak and Pine. I was OK with that; they had a plan.
To date, the only work that has been done is burying the lines in the alley between Yampa and Lincoln. I see red whenever I see the city spending money on any folly, park, project or amenity that comes along instead of really doing something to improve the downtown area. There is a group trying to do something to make improvements to downtown Steamboat. The single biggest improvement that could be made is to bury the utility lines and remove the ugly poles.
Mr. Hays was right about that. I have been very patient and have not said anything about this issue. When I saw Mr. Hays' comments I could not continue without saying or doing something.
I have talked to many who feel the same as I do. It is long overdue for the city of Steamboat Springs to do what should have been done years ago and what they assured me would be done.