Mainstreet Steamboat resolved to get funding for downtown business improvement district passed in November | SteamboatToday.com

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

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.

— 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.

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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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