Our View: Efforts improve summer diversity | SteamboatToday.com

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Our View: Efforts improve summer diversity

— City of Steamboat Springs monthly sales tax reports have hardly been cause for celebration during the past six months. But there is a bright spot among the gloominess of the recession.

Both the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and Mainstreet Steamboat Springs deserve praise for their initiative in starting new summer events and improving existing ones. It’s clear that the efforts of both groups moved the mark. Things certainly could have been a lot worse.

By introducing new events such as the All Arts Festival, OktoberWest, Restaurant Week and the upcoming Sisters in Steamboat weekend, officials at the Chamber and Mainstreet Steamboat succeeded, to some degree, in diversifying our summer attractions and driving attendance by visitors and locals. The new events were in addition to the existing ones organized by the entities, including Rainbow Weekend, the weekly downtown Farmers Market, Wild West Air Fest, Fourth of July Weekend and the Mustang Roundup. And the Steamboat Wine Festival continues to gain momentum as an annual event attracting folks from beyond the Yampa Valley.

What’s more impressive is that the Chamber and Mainstreet added new events this year while having less money to work with than in previous years. Both groups saw a decrease in the funding they receive from the city. And while we don’t doubt the summer was stressful for the hard-working employees and board members of both, those efforts certainly are worthy of acknowledgement.

Unfortunately, there’s little time to sit around and pat each other on the back. As the city of Steamboat Springs, the Chamber, Mainstreet and many other area businesses begin assembling their 2010 budgets in the coming weeks, it’s important to remember the significance of marketing. Now is not the time to further slash marketing efforts. Instead, we should discuss how we can build off of the small successes of this year and propel them forward for 2010 and beyond.

Triple Crown baseball tournaments have long been a source of contention in our community. Nonetheless, we have consistently supported efforts by the city and the Chamber to keep Triple Crown tournaments returning to Routt County each summer, particularly in the absence of other events to replace revenues created by the traveling youth baseball tournaments.

Triple Crown events and attendance were scaled back this year, and it appears Triple Crown officials are OK with leaving it that way. Starting and building on events such as All Arts Festival, OktoberWest and Sisters in Steamboat could not only make such a scaling back of Triple Crown palatable, but also more lucrative for Steamboat Springs and its businesses.

The Chamber and Mainstreet showed in recent months how marketing and ingenuity can create a more diverse, vibrant summer in the Yampa Valley, and we applaud their efforts.