If Chris Diamond had a magic wand he would first wish for a new terminal at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport (Steamboat Pilot & Today, Dec. 30), and that would be a good New Year’s wish. The present terminal is not very welcoming for tourists and in addition is a dangerous structure badly in need of replacement. Every weekend in the winter the overcrowding there violated the county’s own fire codes, and the electrical wiring in the terminal can only be described as chaotic. The building is a disaster waiting to happen, and if it does happen it would be devastating to the tourist business in Steamboat.
However, Mr. Diamond’s statement is somewhat ironic because he knows that the building of a new terminal would require the cooperation of Routt County, the city of Steamboat, the Ski Corp. and the Chamber Resort Association, and that for the past 10 years these entities have been unable to come to any agreement on airport issues. In the summer of 1995 I participated in meetings between these entities that would have established a Regional Airport Authority with statutory authority, a necessary first step toward preparing the financial groundwork for a new terminal. That proposed authority was sabotaged by the Ski Corp. and the city of Steamboat, and since that time the Routt County Commissioners have had to struggle alone to keep the airport afloat.
The reality of the airport situation right now is this:
The Routt County Commissioners are preoccupied with taxpayer resistance to their dubious proposal for a justice building and have put the airport on the back burner.
The city of Steamboat continues its quixotic support for the Bob Adams airport, support that has become increasingly irrational over the years and that stands as a stumbling block to improvements at the airport in Hayden.
The Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. cannot financially do what is necessary for the airport and what Vail Associates did for the Eagle County airport underwrite and guarantee its expansion and it does not appear the new owners will have those kind of deep pockets either.
The Chamber Resort Association has not provided leadership on airport issues since the departure of Bill Malone.
So Mr. Diamond, wish on.
Robert P. Baker
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