Lodging tax project proposals roll into Steamboat clerk’s office | SteamboatToday.com

Lodging tax project proposals roll into Steamboat clerk’s office

— When city officials and members of the lodging tax committee arrive at work Monday morning, they'll find no shortage of formal proposals for spending all or a portion of the $600,000 to $800,000 in lodging tax revenues generated each year in Steamboat Springs.

City Clerk Julie Franklin had collected 16 proposals — 38 organizations originally expressed interest in getting a piece of the tax revenues — by the 5:30 p.m. Thursday deadline.

A quick survey revealed the large majority of proposals were exceptionally detailed, and the people who wrote them, in many cases volunteers, took care to describe how the ideas could benefit tourism, the cause to which the 1 percent tax on nightly room rates is dedicated.

The tax was first approved by voters in 1986. The ballot question asked: "Shall the City Council of Steamboat Springs, in order to provide revenues to fund development of improvements and amenities in Steamboat Springs which will promote tourism and enhance the vitality of Steamboat Springs as a premier destination resort, and enhance the community identity, environmental desirability and economic health of Steamboat Springs, enact an ordinance levying a lodging tax of 1 percent on public accommodations of less than 30 days?"

The proposals submitted this week range from expanding the opportunities to enjoy the sport of pickleball in Steamboat to helping build a new community performing arts theater at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in Strawberry Park.

Other proposals include the Steamboat Springs School District's plan to build a new community sports field; landscaping medians on U.S. Highway 40 at the east entrance to Steamboat; improvements to Bear River Park, including adding a new all-season turf field; building Yampa River Park and a promenade along Yampa Street; the plans of the Steamboat Springs Trail Alliance to build 46 new trail segments and connections; an initiative to acquire public open space; a plan to build 10 restrooms in city parks; the goals of Friends of the Chief to refurbish the historic downtown movie house; and creating access to Emerald Park with a new all-season turf field.

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Applications also were submitted by the Steamboat Springs Art Museum, the Howelsen Sports Complex; Old Town Hot Springs, and Haymaker Golf Course, which is the current beneficiary of the tax.

The proposal from the Trails Alliance alone is 140 pages and breaks out costs for each trail in five areas surrounding the city, from Mad Creek to Rabbit Ears Pass.

The four-mile Morning Gloria Trail, honoring the late Gloria Gossard, who gave generously to create open space on Emerald Mountain, would create a new intermediate singletrack mountain bike trail for about $182,973. The plan calls for running, hiking skiing, horseback and hunters' trails as well as cycling routes.

The group hoping to beautify a barren stretch of U.S. 40 median between Pine Grove Road and Walton Creek Road estimates it needs $547,678 to get the job done.

The new outdoor playing field proposed by the school district is estimated to cost $782,000 with lighting and $482,000 without.

Restrooms in 10 city parks would cost an estimated $1.7 million.

The complex Emerald Field access project has the support of Yampa River Botanic Park officials as well as soccer, lacrosse and baseball associations and the homeowners on Pamela Lane. It would involve moving a railroad crossing to the area just south of the Hampton Inn and also includes an artificial-surface playing field.

The lodging tax committee is expected to evaluate the proposals and make recommendations to the Steamboat Springs City Council, which will narrow the field to between three and five finalists before a round of public presentations and a final decision on how to portion out the funds.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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