Oak Street stakeholders to discuss potential improvements at Thursday meeting | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Street stakeholders to discuss potential improvements at Thursday meeting

Scott Franz

— Property owners on Oak Street don’t want to be left out of the ongoing effort to revitalize downtown by improving its infrastructure and making it more pedestrian friendly.

A group of stakeholders on the street that houses a mix of retail shops, restaurants and homes will meet for the first time Thursday afternoon to talk about the types of improvements they would like to see come to their downtown roadway.

Steve Lewis, who owns an engineering company on Oak Street, said he hopes the property owners can develop a list of needs to take to the newly formed downtown revitalization committee that is in the early stages of pursuing a funding mechanism for downtown improvements. He added the group also will weigh whether potential tax increases will be acceptable to fund the improvements.

"We do want to leave this meeting with an ongoing network for Oak Street," Lewis said.

Until recently, the downtown revitalization committee was called the Yampa Street revitalization committee, and most of its discussions focused on improving Yampa.

Mark Scully, who is chairing the revitalization committee, and city Planning Director Tyler Gibbs will be at Thursday’s meeting to update Oak Street stakeholders on plans to improve the downtown area.

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Lewis said conversations with Scully and Gibbs have been productive and have led him to believe Oak Street will be included in the greater effort to improve downtown.

Lewis said the Oak Street list starts with sidewalks.

"We’ve obviously got intermittent sidewalks," Lewis said, adding that shoppers have to walk in the street on some parts of the roadway.

The funding sources the committee is considering pursuing include an urban renewal authority, a downtown development authority and a business improvement district. Most of the funding mechanisms would generate revenue for downtown improvements through incremental tax increases that would require voter approval.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com