Developers want to spend Iron Horse public improvement funds on new appliances, decks and roof repair |

Developers want to spend Iron Horse public improvement funds on new appliances, decks and roof repair

The $3 million purchase price for the Iron Horse included a $400,000 escrow to be used for public improvements, such as public seating areas and a Yampa River Core Trail extension.
Courtesy Photo

— The developers who purchased the Iron Horse Inn are asking the Steamboat Springs City Council to approve spending a sizable portion of a $400,000 escrow account, which was set up to fund public improvements on and around the city’s former property, on such things as a roof repair, new Energy-Star rated appliances and energy-efficient lighting.

The developers’ spending plan also calls for some of the public improvement money to be spent on new decks, fire alarm monitoring systems and reclaimed wood for the siding of the buildings.

The request is poised to spark a debate in council chambers Tuesday about whether the city should agree to spend money that was set aside for public improvements on the interiors and exteriors of buildings the city no longer owns.

“These items are certainly part of the overall maintenance of the buildings, but I’m not sure they were the public improvements we were talking about when we go back to the real estate plan,” Council President Walter Magill said, referring to a plan that called for the creation of a new park, outdoor seating areas and a community tube launch. “We’d be giving them the money (to improve the property as workforce housing), but there is no guarantee it will stay affordable housing.”

Magill said he wanted to see more details about the proposed expenditures before he considers approving them.

Other items included in the spending plan for the public improvement escrow account include riverbank improvements, an outdoor fireplace, bike racks, benches along the Yampa River Core Trail and landscaping.

City staff is recommending approval of the spending plan, saying it is consistent with the terms of the sales contract for the Iron Horse.

According to the sales contract, items that could be funded by the public improvement escrow “may include, but shall not be limited to, benches, bike racks, outdoor seating and public areas adjacent to the Core Trail, enhancements to the river bank adjacent to the Core Trail, additions and branches to the Core Trail that may extend to U.S. Highway 40, other items as described in the Buyer Proposal, any other such amenities mutually agreed to by the parties.”

The developers say the Iron Horse is delivering on its workforce housing goals, and their spending plan would help create a nicer living environment for workers in the community.

They also say the escrow funds will help to further realize their vision of having the Iron Horse remain workforce housing.

“The purpose of this escrow fund was to help us do what we said we were going to do,” Jon Sanders, of Ski Town Commercial, said Monday.

He suggested if the council rejects the spending plan, there could be a contract dispute.

Under the terms of the contract, if the council and the developers cannot come to an agreement about how the funds should be spent, an arbitrator would be called in to settle the dispute.

The cost of the arbitrator would be paid for from the public improvement escrow account.

The $400,000 escrow account, which the developers paid into, was part of their $3.05 million purchase of the Iron Horse.

Read the full outline of the proposed spending below.

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

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