Ski Corp. makes sidewalk offer | SteamboatToday.com

Ski Corp. makes sidewalk offer

Snowflower residents unwilling to foot ongoing maintenance bill

Brandon Gee

A large group of pedestrians make their way across the street near the intersection of Mt. Werner Circle and Apres Ski Way in Steamboat Springs on Saturday afternoon.

— While approaching an April 7 construction-start date, the city of Steamboat Springs is making progress on a key issue involving a proposed public improvement at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area.

On Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council will convene as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority to discuss issues related to its urban renewal authority at the base area. The URA was created in 2005. Within its base area boundaries, the authority receives property and sales taxes over a base amount established that year.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Redevelopment Coordinator Joe Kracum is expected to report that progress has been made on a contentious sidewalk the URA plans to construct this year, along with a roundabout, to replace the intersection at Mount Werner Circle and AprÃs Ski Way.

The proposed sidewalk would connect the intersection of AprÃs Ski Way and Village Drive with the Gondola Transit Center. The city would need temporary easements from the Snowflower Condominiums to construct the sidewalk, but Snowflower residents have said they would not provide the easements because they don’t want the added responsibility and liability associated with the 6,000-square-foot sidewalk. City code requires that the owners of the adjacent property maintain sidewalks.

“The Snowflower has indicated they don’t see any tangible benefits to their residents,” Kracum said Friday at a meeting of the Urban Redevelopment Advisory Committee, or URAAC. “Right now, they don’t want that sidewalk there at all.”

Both URAAC members and city staff stressed the importance of the sidewalk, with committee member Bill Jameson even suggesting the city not go forward with the $2.5 million roundabout construction without a resolution to the issue.

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“That is not an option, no sidewalk there,” Jameson said. “Find a way to build the sidewalk.”

Planning Services Manager John Eastman agreed. He said the creation of pedestrian connectivity is one of the major purposes of the URA.

“This is a public-private partnership and everybody needs to get on board,” Eastman said.

Toward that end, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond told a Snowflower representative at Thursday’s meeting that Ski Corp. would be willing to accept responsibility for the sidewalk from the Gondola Transit Center south to AprÃs Ski Way. The compromise would leave a smaller portion of the sidewalk from Mount Werner Circle to Village Drive in the Snowflower’s hands.

“I thought Chris’ gesture was tremendous,” Kracum said after Friday’s meeting.

Kracum said Diamond’s offer showed a spirit of cooperation and trust that gives him confidence that a solution will be found before the roundabout is scheduled to break ground in April.

“I don’t feel the heat yet,” Kracum said. “We’d like to keep the momentum going.”

– To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority meeting

When: 4 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information

Agenda

4 p.m. 2008 design update; Snowflower sidewalk; operations and maintenance agreement update; Mount Werner Circle one-way issue