Steamboat City Council keeps commercial vendors out of Stock Bridge Transit Center parking lot
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs City Council will not allow commercial vendors like river outfitters to set up shop in the city’s roomy Stock Bridge Transit Center parking lot.
Steamboat Paddleboard Adventures owner Danny Tebbenkamp thought the parking lot right next to the Yampa River would be an ideal place to rent paddleboards from.
The lot rarely fills up and is steps away from a take-out point along the popular waterway.
Tebbenkamp also was willing to pay the city a vendor’s fee, make the vendor selection process for the lot competitive and pitch in some commission that could be used to boost river education efforts.
But a majority of the council feared that if they let a paddleboard rental company into the lot, it would open a Pandora’s box containing a line of vendors who would want to rent out everything from skate boards to Jeeps to ATVs to rickshaws.
“I think we have to be careful here of the unintended consequences,” Council Member Scott Ford said last week before the council voted 4-2 to reject the proposal. “This one could turn into looking like a carnival.”
Council member Sonja Macys expressed concern about the city’s possible liability if someone got hurt on a paddleboard or anything else rented out on city property.
She said the parking lot should continue to be used only for transportation purposes.
Not all council members wanted to pass on the paddleboard idea.
Tony Connell called the proposal “wonderful” and wanted to move forward with it.
He noted there’s plenty of room in the parking lot and a rental arrangement would yield more revenue for the city.
Council President Bart Kounovsky also was at least open to the idea of sending the proposal to the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission for further consideration.
Tebbenkamp saw the Stock Bridge idea as both a benefit to him and the city.
He could shuttle customers upriver from the parking lot and they could end up back at their cars. And he said commercial river outfitters at take-outs and put-ins on the river could help to educate private river users and police heavily trafficked areas.
Last month, Tebbenkamp pitched the idea of allowing outfitters at parking lots at multiple river put-ins to the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission.
“I thought it would be cool to help the city out with education efforts,” Tebbenkamp said.
Stand-up paddleboarding is becoming more and more popular in Steamboat.
In 2014, local river outfitters put 815 people on paddleboards on Fetcher Pond and the town stretch of the Yampa.
It was a big jump from 2013, when 374 paddleboards were rented out in the same area.
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