Our View: Keep it rolling, Steamboat
May 14, 2013
Four years into the Bike Town USA initiative, it's hard to see anything but positives about the long-term vision as well as the specific projects that have been completed and the many more on the to-do list.
Biking has been a good investment for Steamboat Springs, with anecdotal and statistical evidence indicating as much. City sales taxes have continued to experience year-over-year increases during the summer months, and general optimism abounds surrounding the efforts to improve and expand trail infrastructure in and around Steamboat. Further, the rise of Steamboat's outdoor apparel industry directly correlates with the increase in biking popularity. And we know the presence of events such as the USA Pro Challenge and Ride the Rockies have had positive economic impacts on the community while simultaneously providing fantastic marketing opportunities.
It's for all these reasons and more that we continue to think biking is a good bet for Steamboat to make. It's also a reason we support the lodging tax committee's recommendation to provide as much as $600,000 in tax revenues per year to expand the local trails network. We hope the Steamboat Springs City Council recognizes the same potential that the committee and so many others have seen in the Bike Town USA initiative.
Only time will tell the scope of the impact mountain, road and leisure biking will have on Steamboat's tourist economy, but one this is for certain: Growing our trails infrastructure improves the quality of life for all of us, making Steamboat a more desirable place to live as well as to visit. That's a significant selling point for attracting location-neutral businesses to Steamboat, part of a newer push at economic diversification that will continue to reap dividends for the community.
Steamboat isn't the only mountain resort community making a push toward cycling, and we can ill afford to sit idly by as our competitors invest in their own trail systems and bike-specific marketing efforts. Fortunately, through the efforts of a committed group of residents and business leaders, that hasn't been the case. With another summer of cycling upon us, let's continue to push forward with an initiative that offers tremendous potential.