Central Park Drive project freed from bureaucratic tangle | SteamboatToday.com

Central Park Drive project freed from bureaucratic tangle

Scott Franz

A sign warns drivers about the upcoming construction project on Central Park Drive.

— The bureaucratic tangle that has held up the major construction project at Central Park Drive for two weeks has reached a resolution.

Following a Wednesday meeting Steamboat Springs City Engineer Ben Beall attended at City Market’s corporate headquarters in Denver, city officials are reporting they have received the critical easements they need to allow construction crews to stage and work in Central Park Plaza.

Construction is now scheduled to start Wednesday.

But some damage may already have been done.

Under the original project schedule, crews were to have completed construction of a roundabout, the most impactful part of the project, a few days before Memorial Day, however, the two-and-a-half-week late start could push this work into busier summer months at the shopping center.

Construction crews with Connell Resources have been ready for weeks to launch the project.

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But as of Wednesday, the city was still waiting for City Market corporate executives to send written approval of the easements to their property owner.

The city received that approval following Wednesday’s meeting and subsequently secured the easements from the property owner.

Public Works Director Chuck Anderson said that, while City Market has long been supportive of the project, locally, The Kroenke Group, which owns most of the shopping plaza, needed to secure an additional endorsement from the grocery chain’s corporate representatives so the easements could be executed.

The approval was needed because construction is slated to impact part of the parking lot controlled by City Market.

Asked what has taken the city so long to secure these critical easements, city officials described a long and drawn-out process of phone calls and email correspondence that ultimately led to Wednesday’s meeting in Denver.

There, with representatives of the Kroenke Group and City Market in attendance, Beall was able to relay, in person, the importance of the timing of the work and when construction might have the greatest impact on sales tax collections.

City Market’s corporate representatives left the meeting ready to give the green light, Anderson said.

A spokeswoman for City Market said Friday the grocery chain immediately agreed to the meeting when it was requested and has been a cooperative partner in the project.

The process to secure the easements still saw a delay when Anderson said the City Market representatives initially sent the approval via email instead of on corporate letterhead.

Steamboat Today asked Anderson for an update on the project timeline Thursday morning, but he did not provide one until Friday, despite relaying the information to the City Council on Thursday evening.

Anderson said he needed to supply the information to council members for review before providing the newspaper an update to give to the public.

Before the issues with the easements and the meeting in Denver were revealed in detail Tuesday, Anderson had previously described the holdup in the project as more of a "formality" and a matter of paperwork that needed to be signed.

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