Outdoor stage, pedicabs and tax proposal on Main Street's summer agenda

People pack the Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Farmers Market this summer.

— Local musicians, poets and other entertainers could have a new outdoor stage to perform on this summer in the heart of downtown Steamboat Springs.

Main Street Steamboat Springs is currently working to bring the stage and some vitality to the empty Yampa Street lot next to E3 Chophouse.

Lisa Popovich is dubbing the project, “The people’s stage.”

3 booths available at Farmers Market

Main Street is looking to fill three booths at the Farmers Market with food suppliers. To inquire about the space, call 970-367-7060.

“Anyone could come down and use it,” she said. “If Emerald Mountain School wanted to bring students down to play violin, they could — or a three-piece band. It’s a cool way to activate that vacant lot and put it to use without spending a ton of money or doing a lot of planning.”

Popovich said there is electricity to tap into in the vacant lot to power speakers and microphones, and such a stage could help the city’s ongoing effort to have a creative district designated.

“It’s an experiment,” she said.

She said negotiations to temporarily use the lot for the stage are ongoing but are getting close to being finalized.

The stage is one of several small-scale projects Main Street is currently working on that could have a bigger impact on the downtown experience.

The downtown advocacy organization is taking steps to boost the availability of pedicabs this summer at a time when more parking spaces will be occupied by construction cones and dozers.

“Our hope is to have them out on the streets even more,” Popovich said.

Main Street will lease a couple of pedicabs and ensure they are at least running Friday and Saturday nights.

Residents will be able to rent the pedicabs themselves and drive them to make some tip money.

Popovich said Main Street’s first foray into the world of pedicabs last summer produced strong results and filled drivers’ pockets with lots of cash.

The riders were especially popular following the free summer concerts and rodeos, she said.

Pedicabs are likely to start running sometime in early June about the start of the Farmers Market.

Store 970-367-7161 in your phone as “pedi-cab” and ring a driver when they are running.

The rides will be free, but tips will be appreciated.

Downtown BID tax explored

Could the third time be the charm to get a downtown business improvement district funded with a property tax?

After the failure of two tax questions, Main Street leaders are currently exploring the possibility of a third try.

The group has enlisted the help of a consultant to assist with gauging downtown’s appetite for a tax question.

Consultants were in Steamboat earlier this month to hold a series of meetings with business owners to get feedback.

Popovich called it a fact-finding mission to gauge whether a funded BID could serve the community.

“I don’t have the official findings (of the meetings) yet, but I had a great turnout from the business community, the city and my board,” Popovich said.

She said Main Street is expecting to review some of the meetings' findings in early May.

The city has an existing business improvement district in the downtown corridor. But it has never been funded with a property tax.

In BID elections, only commercial property owners, landlords and tenants vote on whether commercial property taxes should be increased to support maintenance and upkeep in the district.

A BID tax proposal failed in 2014 by a vote of 135 to 120, and a similar effort failed by only six votes in 2007.

Popovich attributed the failure of the last tax proposal to confusion surrounding what a BID actually does.

The controversy surrounding whether to have the city fund an urban renewal authority with tax increment financing also clouded the BID tax proposal, Popovich said.

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

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