City brings on PR team for major downtown improvement project | SteamboatToday.com

City brings on PR team for major downtown improvement project

— The city of Steamboat Springs has hired a former city council president with years of community relations experience to help keep the public and local businesses in the loop on a very impactful downtown construction project.

Mary Brown said Friday she has started some initial conversations about the project with business owners whose properties will be affected by the construction that is scheduled to start next month.

She said she will have a lot more details to share about the project, which is adding new sidewalks, a promenade and other pedestrian improvements to the downtown corridor, once a contractor comes on board.

“There’s going to be a lot of need to keep residents and visitors apprised of the status of the project and how to negotiate construction,” Brown said.

Brown will serve as a point person for community outreach during the course of the project.

Brown, a longtime Steamboat resident, served on the City Council from 1987 to 1995.

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She recently served as the director of external affairs for Quality Health Network, a Grand Junction-based nonprofit designed to improve health care information, technology and services for western Colorado.

Earlier this year, Brown was tapped to serve as facilitator for the Steamboat schools facilities steering committee during the group’s initial organizational meetings.

In addition to Brown, the city has also hired Blakely + Company and InterMountain Public Affairs to handle community relations and marketing for the project.

Public Works Director Chuck Anderson said the PR companies are under contract for an amount not to exceed $30,000.

“We chose a contracted PR route versus hiring additional staff who would be dedicated to the project, and we will continue to evaluate where Blakely builds capacity with their efforts and where we can use existing staff to compliment these efforts,” Anderson said Monday.

The city recently put the first phase of the downtown improvement project out to bid.

Bid responses are due on Monday.

While downtown business owners have expressed excitement about the improvements that are coming, several have also raised concerns about the impact the construction will have on them.

Parking has been an especially prevalent concern among the business owners on Yampa Street.

When some parking on Yampa is unavailable this summer due to construction and road closures, the city will encourage downtown visitors to utilize satellite parking lots such as the ones at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena and a surface lot at 10th and Yampa streets.

Extra wayfinding signage will be installed to promote these parking areas.

To prepare for the project, the city recently launched a new website outlining the project schedule and providing answers to frequently asked questions.

To learn more, visit http://www.steamboatsprings.net/downtown.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10