Our View: Peddling petals
February 22, 2012
Steamboat Springs — During a week when white once again has become Steamboat's favorite color, the community is fortunate there were a few among us who had their minds on the reds, pinks, greens and yellows of summer.
Spurred by a generous offer from a prospective part-time resident, a handful of residents and business owners raised more than $9,000 in about 24 hours late last week. When combined with the challenge grant of $3,333 from Richard Thompson, of New York, there's now enough money to restore the downtown flower baskets that were cut from the city's budget last fall.
The downtown presence of hanging flower baskets and Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs flower barrels might seem trivial to some, but it's not. The color and warmth that the baskets and barrels bring to the downtown business district are important and add to the summertime allure of our resort community.
And while we're thrilled that the money raised last week will allow both programs to continue this summer, their long-term futures still are in question. Appropriately, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association will meet soon to discuss possible permanent funding sources. Relying on community members to come up with $10,000 each winter doesn't make for a sustainable program.
Because the flowers most benefit the downtown business community, we feel its members ought to play a key role in future funding. And perhaps a successful Business Improvement District tax initiative this year could dedicate a dollar amount each year to the purchase of the flowers and their daily watering.
It will be easier to support the city's decision to cut its funding of the flower program if and when a long-term solution is found. We're certainly sympathetic to the fine line City Council must walk between cutting non-essential services during difficult economic times and recognizing the unique nature of a resort community and city government's complex role within it.
So while we applaud the recent efforts of a small group of citizens that stepped up to fund an important summer program, more must be done in the coming months to make sure an important summertime beautification project doesn't disappear in future years.