County vows downtown funds

Business improvement district finds support on board

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If downtown property owners vote in favor of funding the downtown business improvement district in November, revenues would be used to address downtown business concerns including parking and beautification projects. The Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday committed to contributing $14,000 to the district in lieu of taxes if the measure passes in November.

— The Routt County Board of Commissioners pledged more than $14,000 worth of support Tuesday for efforts to improve downtown Steamboat Springs.

The money will go to the Downtown Steamboat Springs Business Improvement District, provided voters in November approve a property tax to fund downtown improvements and beautification. The commissioners' decision comes a week after a meeting with business district and Main Street Steamboat Springs officials to discuss the district's proposed budget.

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said the $14,375 contribution is a reflection of the county's interest in supporting the district's effort to address parking issues, beautification projects and advocacy work.

"The county is committed to the enhancement and vitalization of the downtown Steamboat Springs area," she said during a hearing Tuesday. "It really does show that we want to be a partner in what happens in downtown."

The Steamboat Springs City Council officially formed the business improvement district in June. Its boundaries run from Second to 13th streets, between Yampa and Oak streets. Only property and business owners living within the district's boundaries are eligible to vote on the proposed property tax, because only those owners would pay a tax for improvements in the area.

The county opted to make the contribution because, as a government entity, the county's downtown property would not be subject to the property tax if it passes.

The $14,375 contribution was based on assessing a 2 1/2-mill levy on the county's downtown properties, including the Routt County Courthouse and Annex, Routt County Human Services building and two other houses. The money would come from the county's community services budget.

Commissioner Doug Mon-ger said the board is not bound to the contribution past 2008, and has the ability to discontinue the contribution in the future. Future boards also could discontinue the contribution, he said.

Tracy Barnett, executive director of Main Street Steamboat Springs, said Tuesday from a conference in Pueblo that she was glad the county has agreed to help fund the district.

"We're pleased they've chosen to participate," she said. "It gives the downtown effort credibility."

The district originally asked for a $25,000 contribution from the county, which was a "fair and arbitrary" number, she said.

Bill Moser, chairman of the district, also was at a conference Tuesday and was unavailable for comment.

At a previous meeting with the commissioners, Moser said he hoped the mill levy would generate as much as $130,000 to promote special events, develop marketing and beautify the downtown area.

"We're trying to make downtown a destination not only for our visitors coming into town but to draw people from the mountain, which is always a challenge in the winter," Barnett said. "The downtown commercial district is the heart and soul of this community. It's important to preserve that and keep it viable."

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

Community comments

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(Anonymous) rodcarew says...

The single most important thing we can do to "enhance" and "beautify" downtown is not through better signage, lighting and landscaping (right now, that would be lipstick on a pig), but dealing with the massive amount of cars and trucks that barrel through the middle of it every day. Main street is not a pleasant place to be most times of the day now and its only going to get worse. The time is now to begin discussing, as a community, how we might mitigate that. A new rec center would be nice, but wouldn't that $34mil be better spent on a possible bypass -something everyone can enjoy and benefit from? Ultimately, the bypass may not be feasible (due to river, train tracks, park, hillside, tunneling, etc.), but it should at least be looked at again. It's never going to be cheaper to do then it is today. Otherwise, we might as well kiss Lincoln Avenue through downtown goodbye as it turns into just a thoroughfare. Yampa St. will become the new "downtown" street. The traffic problem is why the streetscape plan rings hollow to me.

Posted 12 September 2007, 8:38 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) fish says...

Wow County commissioners glad you have the extra money now are you planning on matching that amount in Oak Creek and Hayden?

Posted 12 September 2007, 9:13 a.m. Suggest removal

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