Our view: Oak Creek never looked so good | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Oak Creek never looked so good

The term "infrastructure" doesn't naturally inspire excitement, but we're excited for the future of the Town of Oak Creek with last month's on-time completion of $3.5 million in improvements along the length of Main Street that include a vital new larger water main and service lines to replace an old ductile iron line that was failing.

But from the perspective of anyone driving down Main Street, it's the new curbs, gutters and sidewalks that make the biggest impression. The potential for attractive new streetlights is icing on the cake.

Oak Creek was able to contribute a half a million dollars to the project, a partial match to the $2 million the town received from Energy Impact Funds plus another $1 million from the State Revolving Loan Fund.

With the steady hand of Town Administrator and Clerk Mary Alice Page-Allen guiding the town board, we're optimistic that Oak Creek is poised to enter a new era. But first, and foremost, we hope Oak Creek does not lose its unique, sometimes quirky, personality. Nor do we want it to become a bedroom community on the far edge of Steamboat.

But Oak Creek will most likely change. Someday, residents of the growing town may be most grateful for the foresight shown by the town council back in 2017 when 3,800 linear feet of blank conduit was laid, which could facilitate high-speed data transmission in the future.

Although local businesses took a hit this summer from the disruption of traffic on Main Street, we're confident Oak Creek will steadily become a more appealing place for people traveling through to stop and get out of their cars.

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Longstanding businesses, like Bonfigilio Drug, Select Super Market and Rachel's Smokin' BBQ & Cafe, along with more recent hot spots like Kate's Cafe and Lupita's Cantina, should see their receipts increase in the future.

David Bonfiglio, who has owned and operated the drug store in Oak Creek for 22 years, told Steamboat Today last month, "I’m extremely excited that the (contractors) are getting done — they have done a great job, it looks awesome and I think it is going to be a positive moving forward, as far as when people are driving through town. More of them, hopefully, will stop, because it looks nicer, it looks cleaner. Those are all positive things that, hopefully, will pay going forward. It’s been a long summer.”

Another mainstay retail business in Oak Creek is the Space Station gas station and convenience store, which brought stability to the store on the east side of Main Street, where previous owners had struggled to keep the doors open. There was a brief period in recent history when motorists could not purchase gas in Oak Creek. Those days are in the rear windshield.

We would be remiss if we didn't point out that the sensible and responsible way in which Oak Creek Town government has administered the marijuana grow facilities in the town that have played a role in the town's growing economic strength. The industry has brought stable, good paying employment to the community.

Over the long term, we're hopeful the residents in nearby unincorporated Stagecoach will increasingly look to Oak Creek as their commercial district — a dining and shopping destination for essentials.

At issue: Small Routt County town lays foundation for a new future.

Our view: Oak Creek residents and all of South Routt should be proud of the new public improvements that were completed in town this summer.

Editorial Board
• Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Jim Patterson, evening editor
• Tom Ross, reporter
• Beth Melton, community representative
• Bob Weiss, community representative
Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.

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