Tom Ross: Big T’s Konstructor’s Kampground |

Tom Ross: Big T’s Konstructor’s Kampground

City staff is going to hate me for this, but I’ve come up with a way for every homeowner in Steamboat Springs to clear a cool five figures this summer. Even better – about all they have to do is toast a few extra bagels in the morning and welcome strangers into their spare bathrooms.

Mindful that our fair city faces a challenge this summer in housing our construction workforce, I’m willing to offer my own backyard as part of the solution. I’m even willing to donate a portion of the proceeds back to a community nonprofit.

In case you haven’t been paying close attention, Steamboat Springs will see an unprecedented number of major construction projects this season – my preliminary tally is about 16 highly visible projects, and perhaps as many as 23.

Those sweet 16 have a combined valuation of $53 mega-bazillion (give or take a few gazillion).

In order to complete all of the products, we will need to import framing carpenters, journeyman plumbers, electricians, steel workers, truck drivers, painters, roofers, landscapers, drywall dudes and masons.

No one is exactly sure how many construction workers will be needed to push all of these projects forward this summer, but a city survey has confirmed that we have an ample number of liquor licenses to meet their basic needs. Still, some people are growing concerned about where all of these skilled workers will find lodging.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is on the case and already has planned seminars about the summer construction season beginning next week.

An update on the challenges and opportunities inherent in the summer construction boom has been scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 11, at Rex’s American Grill (at the Holiday Inn). Then, on May 9 (same time, same location), the Chamber will host a forum on housing our overall workforce. The cost of each seminar is $15 including lunch. Call 875-7000 to register.

I firmly believe that Big T’s Konstructor Kampground and others like it could nip this workforce housing problem in the bud. I have a little extra parking on the side of my garage, and I’m confident I could fit five tents in my backyard. I’m talking about big tents – big enough to hold two folding cots and a bunch of duffle bags – big enough for a 6-foot man to stand up in and change his Carharts.

I’ve calculated that beginning with the last week in May and continuing through the middle of September (when the first snow is due to fall) I can operate my campground for 119 days. If I rented my tent sites for $21 a night, times five, times 119, I could gross $12,495 (continental breakfast could be served, but I would have to build that into higher rates).

I have a beer fridge in the garage, which I would make available to my campers. I would propose to set up a solar shower in the backyard with its own privacy tent.

If the guys want to come in the house to use the bathroom, that would be fine, but they’d probably have to take their shoes off first. It might make more sense to put a port-a-potty in the yard for $125 a month – whoops, my rates just went up again.

Our campground only is two blocks from a city park, and I think it would be nice if Parks and Rec would construct several new horseshoe pits in the park for our guest workers.

Lights-out curfew would tentatively be enforced at 11:30 p.m. – that shouldn’t be a problem since my construction crew will rise at dawn in order to put in overtime on the job site.

I’m just a few blocks off the city bus route in summer, but it’s more likely the guys would want to car pool to cut down on this summer’s traffic jams.

If the city of Steamboat Springs will pass an emergency construction housing ordinance and grant me a conditional use permit, I will give 10 percent of my gross back to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority.

I realize that some of my neighbors might not be thrilled at the prospect of a campground in the neighborhood, but we all have to do our civic duty, and 12 G’s would pay for a couple of really swell tropical getaways next winter.

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