Jim Clark: Major projects accompany change of seasons | SteamboatToday.com

Jim Clark: Major projects accompany change of seasons

I assume some of you are reading this while in town, but many others are somewhere on a warm beach, reading online, I presume. I'm not one who leaves this time of year, but it is tempting.

As the seasons change, so do activities. I plan on making the "Steamboat Shuffle" to put the winter toys, gear and snow blower away and bring the summer gardening, camping and fishing equipment out. I'm sure many of you will soon be doing the same. Here at the Chamber, we're busy preparing, too.

Marketing campaigns are underway, with an emphasis this year on extending the season into June and the fall. Our events department is building toward our first big event of the year, the Steamboat Marathon on June 6. The staff and volunteers are writing blogs for our website to build traffic and showcase our area from a local perspective. Big thanks go to all our contributors.

We're also working in partnership with other organizations in town on a number of fronts. Our economic development director has been assisting the Steamboat Springs Arts Council with the Creative District Application, which is due in days. If achieved, this designation by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade opens the door for grant funding and additional recognition of our creative industries and cultural assets on a state and national basis.

Another partnership in the works is with the Colorado Workforce Center and area employers to prepare a wage survey. Yet another is with Main Street Steamboat Springs to prepare a retail study to examine how we might better address and support our local retail community while improving our offerings to visitors and residents.

Speaking of Main Street, we are also working with Lisa Popovich and the city of Steamboat Springs to facilitate outreach on the improvements that will begin shortly on Yampa Street. The construction this year will be difficult on the businesses that rely on summer as their busiest season, and we want to encourage visitors and residents to overlook the disruption and keep downtown vibrant and sustainable through this period.

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Also this summer, thanks to a grant from the Department of Local Affairs, a new nine miles of fiber trunk line will go in to connect and provide better pricing and broadband redundancy to public and non-profit facilities, including the county's public safety complex, Yampa Valley Electric Association headquarters and substation, the city of Steamboat Springs Mountain Fire Station, Yampa Valley Medical Center, Colorado Mountain College and Steamboat Springs School District facilities.

The project also provides opportunities for public-private partnerships and lays the groundwork for future expansions to better serve broadband needs throughout the county. As the administrator of Northwest Colorado Broadband, we've been working with our partners to coordinate broadband planning and improvements.

So, while it's a slow season for many businesses, things around here stay in motion. As we switch from winter to summer, we've got a lot going on. And as we're only a few weeks away from Memorial Day weekend — the traditional start of summer and the Steamboat Classic Invitational Lacrosse Tournament — it's again time to think about greeting visitors.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber offers Service Excellence Training to our member businesses who meet and greet the public. Let us know if you'd like to participate. With the construction this summer, we want to make sure that the welcoming experience we're known for remains true to form.

Enjoy the break. See you on the trails, lakes and rivers this summer.

Jim Clark is CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.