Our view: Eye on the prize | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Eye on the prize

At issue

Major construction projects on Yampa Street and Central Park Drive have become inconvenient to businesses and patrons

Our view

The nearing completion of Workman Park is a preview of the eventual payoff the project will bring

There’s no denying this summer’s two major construction projects — the long-awaited revitalization of Yampa Street in the heart of the downtown corridor and the reconfiguration of Central Park Drive, which feeds traffic into one of the city’s busiest shopping centers — have been an inconvenience.

But last week’s announcement that Yampa Street’s Workman Park, Steamboat Springs’ newest public green space on the city’s historic riverside street, was nearing completion has given us a glimpse into what we can expect once construction is complete, and from what we see, the long-term payoff is going to be more than worth the temporary inconvenience.

As landscapers worked last week to put the finishing touches on Workman Park, located on the former site of one of the city’s oldest homes, we were afforded a preview of the overall vision for the street as a whole, and looking at the new green space as it makes its terraced descent to the clear, rushing waters of the Yampa River below, we can more easily focus on the idyllic transformation now taking place.

Across town, the recent completion of the new roundabout on Central Park Drive has given us a similar preview of the ultimate vision for that project.

As we’ve observed before, there’s never a good time to undertake such impactful projects in Northwest Colorado and particularly in tourism-dependent economies such as ours here in Steamboat, as our brief construction season is situated squarely in the heart of the busy summer tourism season.

Accordingly, we know the businesses on Yampa Street and in Central Park Plaza have been impacted by the work as residents and visitors attempt to negotiate the maze of construction equipment and ever-changing detour routes, and by and large, most have met these considerable challenges with understanding and grace.

We applaud this attitude and hope it will continue as the projects proceed and — like a veil being slowly pulled from a painting — the end result becomes a little easier to see with each passing day.

As construction moves forward through the remainder of the summer, we urge residents and visitors alike to continue patronizing Yampa Street and Central Park businesses in the knowledge that the end is in sight, and the payoff will soon relegate to the annals of distant memory the inconvenience we’re currently experiencing.

We also encourage residents and visitors — as much as possible — to keep their vehicles outside the Yampa Street construction zone. It’s an easy — and pleasant — walk from parking areas at Howelsen Hill to Yampa Street, and the fewer cars attempting to negotiate the crowded and bustling work areas the better.

Finally, it should be noted that we’ve probably become spoiled by the absence of major construction projects in recent years, a fact that doubtless makes the current work seem all the more frustrating. But we must remember that these jobs must be done — if not this summer, then the next … or the next. Now is as good a time as any.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and a visit to Workman Park is all it takes to see that light.

Keep your eye on the prize, Steamboat. The inconvenience we’re now experiencing will seem a minor thing, indeed, when compared to the spectacular results we’ll all be able to enjoy for decades to come.

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