Sally TeStrake: Broadening our focus
May 17, 2013
I disagree with the editorial published in Tuesday's edition of the Steamboat Today ("Keep it rolling, Steamboat"). I believe it is short-sighted to give 90 percent of the accommodations tax revenues to the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance. While I agree that growing our bike trails infrastructure improves the quality of life for all of us, I think we should broaden our focus.
By splitting the funds between the Trails Alliance and the Yampa River promenade proposal, everybody wins. Growing access to the Yampa River and improving safety for locals and visitors alike regardless of whether they are bicyclists, able-bodied or not, young or old, would be the benefit of the Yampa River Promenade. The promenade will be a year-round amenity, not just one used in the summer months.
Your editorial was also in contrast to Joel Reichenberger's Sunday Steamboat Pilot & Today article "Search for biking bucks." Mr. Reichenberger's piece points out that "pinning any sort of economic windfall on a citywide bicycling focus is difficult." If you want to look at a group that has experienced larger growth than bicycling, look to the increase in the number of people who walk for exercise, which has grown by 17 million in the past decade, as the article states.
I don't understand why you are such avid proponents of awarding 90 percent of the accommodations tax fund to the Trails Alliance when both groups could accomplish their goals by sharing the money. Your business will likely grow whether all 90 percent of the funds are awarded to one or both entities. Who can predict if you may gain more with a 50/50 split between the two groups?
I will be conveying my request to the members of the Steamboat Springs City Council and urging them to reconsider splitting the accommodations tax revenues between the two proposals: 45 percent to the Trails Alliance and 45 percent to the Yampa River Promenade.