Slide operators discuss lease |

Slide operators discuss lease

Avi Salzman

— After almost two seasons of howling, the operators of the alpine slide may finally sign a lease agreement with the city. On Tuesday night, the city tabled a decision on a lease agreement for Howelsen Hill with Community Slide Inc. to continue negotiations.

The Steamboat Springs City Council decided Tuesday to ask the operators to meet with two City Council members, Loui Antonucci and Paul Strong, to finalize the terms of the lease.

Community Slide Inc., a for-profit entity, is directly connected to the nonprofit Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, which will receive all of the proceeds. The profits from the slide go directly to the local sports club after operating costs are taken into account, said John Adams, the president of the slide company.

The lease will allow the operators, who made $475,317 in their first full season in 2001, to take home a lot more money in the first few years to pay off the debt they incurred when they built the slide almost two years ago. The city would take in 32 percent of the slide’s gross revenues over a certain benchmark amount, which would go down as time went on to allow the city to earn more and split more profits.

The city’s biggest sticking point with the company was in regard to the length of the lease agreement, which the city wants to keep somewhat shorter so it can review the terms before 15 years is up. The slide company wants a 25-year guarantee on the lease.

The city also wants the operators to pay it a minimum management fee, about $8,400 for maintenance costs for its lift and the hill.

City Finance Director Don Taylor said the city was not likely to make a lot of money off this lease.

“This is more a subsidy for a community program,” Taylor said.

City officials said the lease took so long to sign in part because the city wanted the slide to start operating so the negotiators could see how much the slide would make and what expenses would be.

The city needs to pass the lease agreement by ordinance.

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