Tom Leeson: Community credit
December 17, 2006
In response to the editorial “Reinventing Downtown” (Dec. 10 Steamboat Pilot & Today), I would like offer the following comments. The editorial states the downtown “transformation is being driven not by government, but by private investors and their faith in our resort economy” and concludes by stating, “And it would not have happened without the vision and investment of the development community.”
While the development community certainly should be credited for taking risks by undertaking the redevelopment and infill projects, I would argue that the vision for downtown was established several years ago – not by the development community, but by the overall community.
The Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan, which was adopted in 2004, includes numerous policies and strategies targeting efforts in downtown to create a more vibrant, mixed-use development pattern. The plan recognizes the importance of downtown as it relates to the overall community character and economy, and recommends strategies to allow appropriate, carefully crafted redevelopment and infill projects to keep the downtown dynamic, competitive and economically viable in the marketplace.
The Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan was adopted after two years of collaboration between citizen volunteers, public officials and the general public. The community-driven planning process lead to an overall vision for the community, including a vision of downtown as the heart of the community.
As a result of this vision, numerous efforts have been undertaken to make the vision a reality. Design standards have been developed, and zoning codes have been amended to allow the type of redevelopment and infill projects we are seeing today. Main Street Steamboat Springs was created as a community-driven group working together with businesses, government and community for the benefit of downtown Steamboat Springs. And numerous other efforts by numerous other entities have been undertaken to ensure the future health and vibrancy of downtown.
So, while the private development community is certainly a player in the “reinventing of downtown,” it is the overall community that should get credit for creating a vision and following through on the steps necessary to make that vision a reality.
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Director of Planning Services,
city of Steamboat Springs