Urban Renewal Authority agrees to fund second beach along Walton Creek Promenade | SteamboatToday.com

Urban Renewal Authority agrees to fund second beach along Walton Creek Promenade

— Steamboat Springs City Council, acting as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority (SSRA), voted Tuesday to spend $26,000 in Urban Renewal Authority funds to create a second sand beach on Walton Creek where it flows past condominiums and a hotel at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area. But plans to go forward with the design of a new "iconic" barn structure announcing to visitors that they have arrived at the mountain resort will have to wait.

The new beach is to be built in front of One Steamboat Place and would become a companion to the existing Slot Canyon Beach farther upstream. That beach has eliminated a muddy area where children play in the creek and along a gentle waterfall and matured into a family attraction.

The vote of approval, with authority members Scott Ford and Walter Magill dissenting, came over the advice of Urban Renewal Authority (URA) attorney Malcolm Murray.

The key criteria for URA activities is whether they address blighted public infrastructure within the boundaries of the URA. Murray had expressed concern that, because the original construction, which created the heated promenade at the base of the ski area and accomplished the daylighting of Burgess Creek, had already treated the blight.

However, David Baldinger, Jr., of the Urban Renewal Authority Advisory Committee (URAAC), the group that recommended the beach, was able to persuade authority members that the second beach was justifiable.

Asked by SSRA member Sonja Macys to explain the relationship of the new beach to blight, Baldinger Jr. made the case that Slot Canyon Beach has succeeded in meeting the URA's stated goal of creating an active edge between the creek and the promenade along commercial development at the mountain village.

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"In our opinion, the promenade itself creates an active edge with families interacting with the creek," Baldinger Jr. said. "The first beach worked really well, and a second beach is a better way to do that edge. No more mud bog."

Macys observed that the second beach will enhance families’ safe enjoyment of the creek.

URAAC was also hoping to secure funds to continue with the design of the small barn located on the lower west side of Mount Werner Circle, which, would do double duty providing directions. The tentative plan is to use lumber from the historic Butterfly Barn, decaying nearby in Wildhorse Meadows.

However, that plan was sidetracked after Paul Stettner rose to speak during public comment on the matter and asked if original city approvals didn't require the owners of the residential Wildhorse Meadows development to take care of the Butterfly Barn.

"I'm thinking there was a stipulation that that barn be stabilized and not allowed to become a wreck and a blight," Stettner said. "Somehow, I think Wildhorse should be committed to help out in this process."

City Planning Director Tyler Gibbs confirmed there is a requirement that Wildhorse maintain both the barn and public access, not to the structure itself, but to its perimeter.

As a result, authority members voted not to fund additional design work until the obligations of Wildhorse owners Real Capital Solutions are further explored.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1