Steamboat Springs urban renewal group plans $240,000 in landscaping at Mount Werner Circle | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs urban renewal group plans $240,000 in landscaping at Mount Werner Circle

If you go

What: Urban Renewal Area Advisory Committee discusses landscaping medians on Mount Werner Circle

When: 1:30 to 3 p.m. Thursday

Where: Creekside conference room at Torian Plum, 1855 Ski Time Square Drive

— Long-anticipated landscaping and beautification of road medians at the entrance to Steamboat Springs' mountain village could begin as soon as June, according to officials with the city of Steamboat Springs and the Urban Renewal Area Authority.

"We'd like to go to bids in April and begin construction in June," city Public Works Engineer Danny Paul said Monday.

The group responsible for making recommendations on behalf of the Urban Renewal Authority is scheduled to look at final design drawings from consultant Wenk Associates and compare them with its $240,000 budget in a meeting Thursday.

If the project goes forward, it would add additional landscaping to a traffic roundabout at Après Ski Way and Mount Werner Circle. The improvements also would add decorative hard-scaping and drip-irrigated perennial flowers and ornamental grasses in the medians on Mount Werner Circle that pass by the gondola transit center, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.’s parking garage, and The Steamboat Grand beyond the intersection with Burgess Creek Road.

It was URAAC, a committee of volunteers, that collaborated with city staff on the design and construction oversight on the $9 million-plus project that resulted in the creation of a snow-melted pedestrian promenade and the daylighting of Burgess Creek, which debuted in summer 2012.

URAAC co-chairman David Baldinger Jr. said Monday that although the budget for the median beautification is a fraction of the total URA funds spent on the promenade, it is important.

"It's always been on our wishlist," Baldinger said. "This isn't the most expensive project — in the case of the creek, a lot of the money went underground. But this is pure glamour. I think it's going to be really neat."

Paul, who recently was named the URA coordinator for the city, said that while the work is definitely a URA project, because the medians are in the city's right-of-way, the city will take responsibility for ongoing maintenance.

The plants in the medians will be chosen for water conservation and low cost of upkeep.

"Were trying to find a balance between how we make the medians look better and keep maintenance costs reasonable."

Baldinger agreed.

"It was pretty smartly designed with a big eye to maintenance costs," he said. "One of the main goals was to have it look great but also not have to be re-built each season. We wanted plants that thrive and survive well in a variety of climates and can take the snowplowing."

Paul said the narrowest medians will be finished with a mix of tinted concrete and brick pavers. They also will see sections of a Western-style, stacked zigzag timber fence installed for decoration.

The drip-irrigated roundabout, which already has been landscaped, will be planted more densely with blue avena and little bluestem grasses and perennial flowers.

A portion of the budget will be devoted to extending an existing city water line near the roundabout up Mount Werner Circle and through the medians.

A wider median near the parking structure will be planted with aspens, perennials including Alpine aster, Russian sage and day lilies, as well a shrubs. Similar plantings will be installed in the wider median between the Ski Time Square parking structure and The Steamboat Grand.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com