More special events headed for Yampa Street? Steamboat City Council to weigh in on future of gatherings
February 12, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs City Council is set to weigh in on the future of special events in the city following a summer season when some elected officials noticed more honking and more residents than usual complained about traffic and other impacts.
Should more events head down to Yampa Street instead of taking up the lanes of Lincoln Avenue?
And when should the city say 'no' to new events?
These are questions the council will be asked to answer in the coming weeks.
Last year, the city supported 67 events that required the use of at least two city services and thus needed a permit.
The city is currently working with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, business leaders and other community groups to explore ways to improve events and mitigate their impact in the future.
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The exercise also will include potential ways to streamline and improve the process event organizers use to get permits from the city.
On Tuesday, the City Council will review comments the city got from about 36 community members and businesses owners about special events.
The comments were fielded at a Steamboat Conversations forum held recently in partnership with Steamboat Today.
Participants were asked what they liked about special events, what they didn't like and how they thought special events could be improved.
Survey respondents liked the energy events brought to town as well as the economic impacts to local businesses and the government.
But they weren't on board with the substance abuse, traffic, parking issues and other disruptions some of the events have caused.
Some suggestions for how to improve events ranged from moving some events to the base of Steamboat Ski Area in the summer closer to lodging properties to creating a "holiday" where locals could get a break from events.
But one of the big questions facing the council is whether to try and steer more events, such as the Mustang Show-n-Shine, toward Yampa Street rather than Lincoln Avenue.
City officials are recommending that more events should be held on Yampa instead of on the busier highway. That's because closing Lincoln requires a lot more manpower and resources from the city than closing a city street.
However, the city thinks community events such as Winter Carnival and the Fourth of July Parade should stay on Lincoln.
When Lincoln closes for special events, the city deploys 16 community service officers, has to put more transit buses in service while also staging fire trucks and ambulances at both sides of the closure to ensure timely emergency responses.
The city is also pointing out that a majority of businesses they've talked to on Yampa would welcome more events.
"Overall, I think they're beneficial to our business," the owners of Mountain Tap Brewery wrote in response to a questionnaire about special events. "I can't think of any that aren't."
The owners of Sake2U had a similar sentiment, saying "the more, the merrier."
But not all businesses on Yampa want more events on their doorstep.
Brock Anderson, the owner of Orange Peel Bicycle Service, wrote that special events have a negative impact on his business.
"The city needs to understand that the river, the bike path and OUR businesses are the draw on Yampa Street," he wrote. "My sales data clearly shows a steep decline anytime there is a special event near my store."
Anderson said he has heard from locals and visitors that they avoid Yampa when things get too busy there.
What do you think? The council's work session where special events will be discussed starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Citizens Hall.