Steamboat lands $800,000 grant to upgrade Butcherknife Creek area and help prevent flooding |

Steamboat lands $800,000 grant to upgrade Butcherknife Creek area and help prevent flooding

Butcherknife Creek nears its banks in June 2017 as it flows through Stehley Park. Planned improvements to creek culverts in downtown Steamboat Springs aim to prevent future flooding.

John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — An $800,000 state grant awarded to the city of Steamboat Springs will finance infrastructure improvements along Butcherknife Creek to help prevent future flooding.

City engineer Ben Beall said the last significant flooding event hit downtown Steamboat in 1984, but decades of growth will only make things worse next time.

“Development has encroached into the area that the creek needs to flow,” Beall said. “We’re replacing infrastructure that’s undersized.”

Specifically, pieces of a new, bigger culvert will be installed in the area from Oak to Yampa streets between Sixth and Seventh streets. The grant also will help fund new sidewalks and streetscape amenities, such as LED lighting and landscaping.

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The culvert part of the project also will replace a nearly 100-year-old obsolete box culvert that still runs down to the Yampa River in some areas.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs awarded the city the grant from the state’s Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund.

Council member Kathi Meyer said Steamboat has received a number of grants in the past from the Impact Assistance Fund to help with important projects like the Combined Law Enforcement Facility and the Parks and Recreation building.

“It tells you our grant writers are very selective and are making sure they pick projects that the state is willing to help us fund,” Meyer said.

Butcherknife Project Map 2

In fact, during this round of DOLA grant funding, only one-third of the money asked for by Colorado cities was granted. Steamboat’s Butcherknife Creek project received its full grant request.

Beall said contractors have not been hired, but he expects construction on the project to begin in the summer. He said people can expect to see street closures at various times as construction crews work on the new culverts crossing under Oak Street and Lincoln Avenue.

In the meantime, Meyer said the Butcherknife Creek project “essentially completes the city’s $11 million downtown improvement project.”

In addition, new year-round public restrooms will be built next to Eagle Scout Park at Seventh and Yampa streets. A start date for that project has not been set, and contractors still need to be selected, Beall said.

The city will be using another grant, funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to install a mechanized stormwater treatment device along Butcherknife Creek. The device will separate and filter pollutants before they reach the Yampa River.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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