Re-Imagining Yampa program seeks community input on popular downtown street
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Lisa Popovich, executive director of Main Street Steamboat Springs, has lots of questions about Yampa Street, and she is hoping that her organization’s efforts to collect information through a new Re-Imagine Yampa Street program will result in some clear answers.
“It’s a continuation of the downtown plan. Main Street Steamboat has contracted with a private firm with our graduate funds that we received through DOLA (Colorado Department of Local Affairs) to understand how we want to use Yampa Street,” Popovich said. “Now that the construction is complete, and it’s beautiful, we want to figure out what’s the next step.”
The city of Steamboat Springs invested nearly $7 million into improvements along Yampa Street, which were completed in summer 2018. Those improvements included the purchase of the Workman parcel, park and floodplain improvements, underground utility lines, replacement of water and sewer lines and new curbs and sidewalks.
Popovich said the idea behind Re-imagine Yampa Street is to gather feedback about Yampa Street from users and pinpoint things that can be done to make the experience along the popular street even better. The information collected can be used to decide what kind of events residents would like to see on Yampa. She is also hoping to find out if, and when, people would like to see Yampa closed to traffic and if changes are desired with regard to open containers along the street.
That information will be gathered through August on three whiteboards that will be placed at different locations along Yampa Street and one at Bank of the West.
“Over the course of the summer, we will ask lots of different questions, and we are looking for people that come by to write on the boards or there are sticky notes that they can write on or there is a survey that a person can pick up and fill out and leave there,” Popovich said.
Main Street Steamboat will supplement the whiteboard information with a longer online survey and information acquired during a planned walking tour of Yampa Street at 5 p.m. Aug. 5. That tour begins at the Fifth Street Bridge, and Popovich said it will offer participants a chance to share their thoughts with consultant Sheryl Trent.
“It’s a downtown walk down Yampa where you can talk with her,” Popovich said. “People can comment about what they love or tell her if they would really like to see something different. It’s a chance for people to tell her what they would like to see happen.”
Popovich said she has had a positive response to the whiteboards.
“Some of it is silly, or inappropriate, but the vast majority of it is helpful,” Popovich said of the feedback. “It comes from people who are using the street, not somebody that comes down to Yampa Street once a year.”
Popovich said the goal of Re-imagine Yampa is to reach people who may not attend a meeting but have ideas about what they want on Yampa Street.
“When we started, we asked how do we get to those people who are not going to attend a meeting and are not on somebody’s mailing list?” Popovich said. “That’s where the whiteboards come into play … over the course of the summer, we will ask lots of different questions.”
Once the information has been gathered Main Street Steamboat will compile it and make a presentation to Steamboat Springs City Council. She said the information might also be used to determine decisions about Yampa Street moving forward.
The project is being paid for through a special grant.
“Main Street Steamboat is part of the larger Main Street organization,” Popovich said. “We are one of three graduate communities that qualify for extra technical assistance, and we are paying for this through a technical assistance grant that cannot be used for anything else.
“This is special funding for graduate communities,” Popovich added. “That means that we have reached one of the highest level of accreditation and we are an example to other communities.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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The iconic cone-shaped building on the corner of Yampa and 11th streets in downtown Steamboat Springs was once a wood-waste burner before being moved to become the home for Sore Saddle Cyclery and Moots Bicycles.