City outlines potential timeline for downtown improvements

Scott Franz
Crews with Duckels Construction work to install a new sidewalk on Yampa Street in 2014. Under a potential urban renewal plan
Scott Franz

— City officials have provided the first potential timeline for how improvements in downtown Steamboat Springs could be phased in if the Steamboat Springs City Council moves forward with an urban renewal plan.

If the city council chooses a financing option that would involve assuming debt, projections indicate the list of $10.3 million in proposed infrastructure improvements could be finished after three years.

In year one, city officials are suggesting Yampa and Oak streets would see several blocks of new sidewalks.

Utilities on Yampa would also be relocated underground, and a promenade would be installed from 6th to 10th.

The reasoning behind starting with the projects on Yampa Street is that they would occur in front of commercial properties where sales and property tax increment has the highest potential of being generated.

Raised intersections on Yampa Street, which would aim to slow down traffic and increase pedestrian safety, could be installed over the course of three years.

Sidewalks in places like 13th Street would be added in year three of the project.

City staff estimates that if debt is not issued during the project, it would take up to 17 years to finance the downtown renovations.

The city council will ultimately decide when individual projects go forward.

The council is currently deciding how to fund the millions of dollars of projects, which also include new public restrooms and pedestrian lighting.

On Tuesday, the council voted, 5-1, to set a June 16 public hearing date ahead of a vote on whether to adopt an urban renewal plan.

A majority of the council appears ready to use some form of tax increment financing for the projects.

The city is proposing that some sidewalk construction be funded by sidewalk assessments on private property owners, and the utility undergrounding be paid for by franchise fees the city has collected.

In addition, the city has identified nearly $1 million worth of grant opportunities for downtown projects.

Routt County officials and the Steamboat Springs School Board continue to oppose any form of tax increment financing that would use property tax increment.

On Tuesday night, the council heard both support and opposition to the potential urban renewal plan.

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

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