Ski base planners explore energy options |

Ski base planners explore energy options

— Consultants working on plans for improvements to Steamboat Ski Area are considering alternative energy sources.

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 geothermal technology could serve as a substitute to natural gas, which is typically used as the fuel for snow-melting systems.

Steamboat Base Area Redevelopment coordinator Joe Kracum updated the business community Wednesday about 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 one of the improvements discussed at a Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association luncheon Wednesday.

The first phase of the improvements, which will cost 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 though are dependent on the city finding a way to pay for the ongoing operation and maintenance costs.

One idea committee members have had is to form 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 call 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 also are being planned.

Wednesday’s update was part of an ongoing effort to keep the community informed about the base area redevelopment. Kracum stressed that homeowner’s associations, businesses or anyone else who has 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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