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New project-ranking system makes Core Trail expansion a top priority for Steamboat

Other projects were moved down in rank thanks to the updated methodology

Bear River Park was moved up in priority in a long list of city projects thanks to a new project-ranking system.
City of Steamboat Springs/Courtesy image

During a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 13, Steamboat Springs City Council discussed the priority level of city projects and the methodology used to rank them.

Earlier this year, Finance Director Kim Weber unveiled an updated scoring criteria for capital improvement projects, which ranks the priority of CIPs based on assigned scores across seven weighted categories. 

Every approved capital project — from large-scale developments like the new fire station to smaller projects such as replacing the roof at the animal shelter — is assigned scores from one to five across seven categories. Those individual categories have multipliers that calculate the final score of the project and thus its priority to receive funding. 



The new fire station, for example, was given a five out of five in the “Health and Safety” category, which has the highest possible multiplier of seven, meaning the project’s score in that category is five multiplied by seven — 35. 

The seven categories are:



  • Health and Safety — multiplier of seven
  • Maintenance/Protection of City’s existing assets — multiplier of seven
  • Satisfaction of legal/contractual obligations —multiplier of five
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion —multiplier of five
  • Aligns With Adopted Council Goals —multiplier of three
  • Community Benefit —multiplier of three
  • Private funding —multiplier of one
The 31 top ranked capital improvement projects according to city staff’s CIP scoring matrix. The green highlighting indicates the projects have approved funding, while the U.S. 40 West Trail Connection was moved to be funded through the Accommodations Tax Fund.
City of Steamboat Springs/Courtesy image

The “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” category was added earlier this summer and has shaken up the rankings over previous years. The new category is meant to give higher priority to projects that benefit traditionally underserved populations in town. 

The project titled US40 West Trail Connection, which would extend the Yampa Valley Core Trail westward from the bowling alley to Silver Spur, ranks No. 1 with 116 points. The trail expansion was assigned fives in both the “Health and Safety” and the “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” categories. 


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Infrastructure for Bear River Park greatly benefitted from the “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” category, earning a five in that category and an overall score of 70. Phase one of Bear River Park, which involves infrastructure, design and utilities, is ranked 31st out of the 82 approved projects and has been assigned funding. 

“How long has Bear River been on the shelf?” asked Robin Crossan, the City Council president.  

“17 years,” responded several other council members in unison. 

“And we’re finally gonna do it,” Crossan said. 

But this year’s ranking prompted questions by some of the council members. 

Council member Heather Sloop, who has long promoted projects in the transportation sector, asked Weber why the Stone Lane Bridge and complete streets project was ranked No. 41.

The Stone Bridge project would connect Whistler Road, in the Walton Creek neighborhood, with U.S. Highway 40 via a bridge extending from Stone Lane. The new road and bridge would include improvements to meet complete street standards such as stormwater, utilities, bike lanes, streetscape features and sidewalks.

Stone Lane Bridge was assigned a five in “Health and Safety” and the “Aligns with Adopted Council Goals” categories, but only scored a 63. 

“Stone Lane Bridge and complete streets was on the budget for last year and was ranked quite high,” said Sloop. “Now, it didn’t make the cut. It was the last thing that didn’t make the cut.” 

Public Works Director Jon Snyder said Stone Lane Bridge was still a high priority for staff, and his department will apply for a grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

The scoring criteria for capital improvement projects was described by the city’s staff as a fluid metric that will be updated every year.

City Council will review a proposed budget for 2023 on Oct. 4 during their annual budget retreat.  


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