Nancie McCormish: New idea for tax
October 27, 2013
To the Steamboat Community,
As a rural resident who frequents Steamboat for school and shopping, I cannot vote on city matters but would like to share an idea.
First, I'm not a business owner or involved in real estate, don't know anyone involved here, and have no ulterior motives, just an observation and suggestion.
Yampa Street already is overcrowded with too little parking. As a resident trying to do basic business in town, it's getting much harder to access anything in a timely fashion, especially since I try to run multiple errands when I make the trip to town. For example, I often just keep going when trying to find parking to pick up a book at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore or grab a quick bite to eat.
The current lodging tax proposal to purchase and "improve" this area will perhaps make some businesses better but will also encourage yet more congestion, especially if (as promised) it will bring in more tourism and affect property values in positive and negative ways as I understand it.
Further, the rodeo grounds/Howelsen Hill area (whose improvements proposal lately was rejected for lodging tax funds) often already is packed with summer events. How will a new footbridge make that any better?
Leaving that aside for now, I want to suggest the city investigate the land posted for sale on either side of the Tree Haus bridge. It's already very congested there in summer with folks overflowing the tiny parking lot and hauling tubes, dogs, kids and fishing gear down to the river. The Core Trail crossing there also is dangerously situated near a tight curve and a very busy intersection.
Purchasing this area would:
■ provide better access to the river (as is considered desirable from all the planning reports I've read),
■ provide safer access to the Core Trail
■ provide an easy bike or hike to downtown and the new Casey's Pond center (and could provide wheelchair access along the river)
■ would make ingress/egress far less complicated
■ would take some pressure off Yampa Street without impacting revenue to those businesses there
■ keeping this area as open space would also improve the southern "gateway" to Steamboat near the now being visually improved U.S. Highway 40 median
■ could make a future hub for the Core Trail expansion southward and take some bike traffic off River Road
■ is nearby the Balloon Rodeo starting point so could perhaps take traffic off U.S. 40 during events there.
This parcel is mostly hayfields now but several of the fragments are too small to be viable for hay production. These are the perfect pieces, though, to provide better and safer river access as people are already doing by voting with their feet (and tubes).
Like the small commercial fragments for sale on Yampa Street, this ground is for sale now and represents an opportunity that may disappear in the future. I don't know how it is zoned but can easily imagine it filling up with buildings or businesses over time as Steamboat grows.
Please consider the possibilities. Yampa Street will continue to be busy with or without more investments there, but a promising opportunity may be quietly waiting by the Tree Haus bridge.