Steamboat TODAY article
Promenade ideas discussed
Base area committee considers shorter public walkway
Saturday, April 12, 2008
An interactive 3-D computer model now is being used to evaluate development proposals and city redevelopment plans at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area. The city-funded model will be presented to the public at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Centennial Hall.
A planned promenade at the base of Steamboat Ski Area may have a more limited scope than previously considered. At a meeting Friday, the city’s advisory committee for base area redevelopment debated the promenade it hopes to start building as early as next summer.
Prior to the meeting, the committee asked redevelopment coordinator Joe Kracum and design firm Wenk Associates to consider designing the 20-foot-wide promenade along the immediate ski base from Christie Club on the north to the Edgemont project under construction on the south.
But by the end of Friday’s meeting, difficulties such as ski easements and steep grades had the committee leaning toward a promenade that doesn’t go as far uphill. Committee members discussed a major promenade extending around the ski base only from the Thunderhead Lodge to the Ptarmigan Inn, both of which are slated for redevelopment. A smaller version of the promenade — more like a typical sidewalk and what committee members referred to as the “little p” promenade — would be used to make further residential connections to base area properties and possibly be located on the interior of those sites rather than the immediate ski base.
Jim Schneider, vice president of skier services for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., spoke in favor of a promenade that respects existing ski easements and “fans out” away from the immediate ski edge sooner rather than later.
“We’ve got to get away from the idea that it needs to be right on the ski edge, straight up both sides,” Schneider said. “We’ve already got the smallest snow edge in the industry.”
Jack Ferguson, owner of the Mount Werner Lodge, was concerned that tourists and even residents might be confused by interior walkways.
“To the extent we can keep it near the toe of the ski area, the better off we’re going to be,” he said.
Noting the distance, David Baldinger Jr. of Steamboat Village Brokers spoke in favor of the shortened promenade.
“I don’t think anyone would argue that Edgemont should be strongly connected to the base area in a pedestrian way,” Baldinger said. “But you’re starting to get beyond a nice little stroll.”
After Friday’s meeting, Baldinger noted that city code already requires pedestrian connections. He said he envisions “spider webs” — in the form of sidewalks — “running like crazy” throughout the base area and making strong connections to the promenade, wherever its ends are cut off.
Friday’s discussion was largely conceptual in nature; the committee took no formal action. Wenk Associates and Kracum will return to the committee in a month with a promenade master plan. The committee, known as the Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee, makes recommendations to the Steamboat Springs City Council on projects within the city’s urban renewal authority. The URA issues bonds to fund improvements and, within its base area boundaries, collects property and sales taxes above a base amount to repay its bonds.
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