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Hoping to get in hot water

Council: Explore geothermal energy for base area

In other business

In a meeting that ran late into Tuesday night, the City Council also:

- Accepted the resignation of council member Kevin Kaminski, who has moved to a home outside the district voters elected him to represent. Kaminski left Tuesday's meeting, and his seat on the council, after submitting a letter of resignation.

- Approved increasing the construction budget for the new Steamboat Springs Community Center by $477,000, to a total cost of $2,975,500. The additional funds will allow for a $260,000 geothermal system, $90,000 in winterization costs, $47,000 in environmental materials, and $50,000 for a system to heat the building's sidewalks and patio in the winter.

- Unanimously postponed action on the proposed Steamboat Barn Village subdivision, after a recommendation by city staff that issues need to be resolved regarding road access to the subdivision, on a 39-acre site south of Fish Creek and north of Central Park Drive. The proposal will be sent back to the city planning commission for further review. "I think it's unfortunate, because I have a feeling this means the demise of the (More) Barn," council member Paul Strong said. Restorations of the historical barn, on land included in the proposal, cannot begin until the project is approved. The project applicant, Robert Comes of Steamboat Holdings II, LLC, and city staff have expressed concerns that the barn may not make it through the winter intact.

— Planners of redevelopment at the ski base are hoping to find hot water beneath Steamboat Springs.

On Tuesday night, the Steamboat Springs City Council approved the continued design and planning of several projects that could begin redevelopment at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. The projects include a roundabout leading into Ski Time Square at an intersection near the Steamboat Trading Co. and The Tugboat Grill & Pub; a pedestrian walkway from the Gondola Transit Center to Ski Time Square; and a brand logo for the redevelopment featuring the slogan “Steamboat Unbridled.”

The council also approved the exploration for local sources of geothermal energy, or hot water lying deep underground, which could be used to heat snowmelt systems – or even domestic water – at the ski base.



“We’re very excited and ready to move forward,” said Joe Kracum, coordinator of the redevelopment project.

Funding for the projects’ estimated $2 million to $2.5 million cost would come from the city’s urban renewal authority, or URA, which uses increases in property tax revenues from the base area to fund improvements to the area.



The council gave approval for the use of URA revenues to fund geothermal exploration, at an estimated cost of about $107,000.

A preliminary study conducted by Gerald Huttrer of Geothermal Management Co., of Frisco, identified four sites near the ski base for the exploratory drilling of wells as deep as 500 feet.

“Right now, we know as much as we can know about the surface,” Kracum said. “The next step would be to start drilling.”

Kracum said he will begin accepting bids from contractors for the exploration project, which could begin before winter.

The wells will be dug to take temperature readings deep underground. A sharp increase in temperature could indicate water hot enough for geothermal use, Kracum said.

“That’s the best-case scenario,” Kracum said. “There are risks – we could drill these four holes and come up with nothing. But we won’t know until we try.”

If enough water is found at an appropriate temperature, Kracum said, it could be piped to the base area, where the heat would be extracted from the water and used in snowmelt or water systems.

– To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com


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