Ski base area may go green |

Ski base area may go green

Heat from the Earth may be used to melt ice on sidewalks

Consultants working on plans for improvements to the Steamboat Ski Area are considering an alternative energy source.

In September, geologists will begin exploring whether heat from beneath the Earth’s surface could be used to power a snow melt system for pavement and walkways planned for the base of the ski area. The environmentally friendly geothermal technology could serve as a substitute to natural gas, which is typically used as the fuel for snow-melting systems. It also could prove less expensive.

Steamboat Base Area Redevelopment coordinator Joe Kracum updated the business community Wednesday on progress on the Urban Renewal Authority, which was established last year to raise funds for public improvements to the base area.

“It helps to come here and see the architectural drawings,” said Jeffrey Minotto, vice president of Vectra Bank Colorado. “I didn’t know Burgess Creek was going to be opened up.”

Diverting the creek from existing culverts into a new creek bed for the summer is just one of the improvements discussed at the luncheon sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

The first phase of the improvements — estimated at between $3 million and $4 million — could begin as soon as next spring. The second phase could begin in 2008 at a cost of between $12 million and $14 million. Those deadlines depend on the city coming up with a way to pay for the ongoing operation and maintenance costs.

One idea committee members have had is the potential formation of a general improvement district. GIDs are special districts that benefit from property tax revenues. Kracum said the question of creating a GID could appear on November’s ballot.

In addition to the Burgess Creek project, the first phase of improvements calls for a path from the Gondola Transit Center and Ski Time Square. A promenade at the base of the ski hill, new signage and a new drop-off area are planned.

Wednesday’s update was part of an ongoing effort to keep the community informed on the base area redevelopment. Kracum stressed that homeowner’s associations, businesses or anyone else with questions about base area improvements can call him at 871-7077.

To reach Matt Stensland call 871-4210 or e-mail

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