Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs - Newsletter July 2008

What's Up Downtown?
MainStreet Steamboat Springs e-Newsletter
July 2008

In This Issue
First Friday Art Walks
Highway 40 Reconstruction
"Get People Downtown"
Discovery Map discount
Welcome New Businesses to Downtown!
Off the Beaten Path in its new location on 9th Street. Welscome back! You were missed.

Triple 555 Builders, Homestagers, and Travel Agency - on 9th Street next to Off the Beaten Path - affordable furniture for Steamboat

Blossom - next to the movie theater on Lincoln - Imports from Nepal, India and Tibet

Wild Horse Gallery - a second location for this very popular mountain art gallery, located on the corner of 8th and Lincoln.

The Boathouse Pub -on Yampa Street, between 6th and 7th Streets, opening July 4th weekend.

All that Jazz - in its new location in the Alpenglow at 6th and Lincoln

Sleeping Giant Gallery - in its new location in the Alpenglow at 6th and Lincoln.

Business of the Month
The Homesteader has added a fun new twist to their marketing efforts. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings Chef Dave Nelson is offering cooking classes in the new kitchen at the back of the store. This beautiful kitchen is the perfect setting to showcase products within the store as well as offering an entertaining evening activity to a limit of 12 participants. This creative means of marketing is a perfect example of thinking outside the box when it comes to attracting customers. Our hats are off to Steve and Daniella Kennedy and their staff for going the extra mile to stand above the crowd. Classes have been sold out, showing the popularity of giving the customer what they want.
Become a Member
Not a member of MainStreet Steamboat Springs? Now is the time to add your support to the organization dedicated to improving the the heart of our community, downtown.

For a mere $195 a year (or $395 for a business with more than 4 full-time employee equivalents), you get a staff person and teams of volunteers working to make conditions favorable for your success. As a group, we can make much more progress and have a bigger voice than you as an individual can have. For the price of a couple of ads in the paper, you get year-around support for your business, the downtown business district, and the heart of the community.

If you are interested in having a voice with MainStreet Steamboat Springs, call Tracy at 970-846-1800. Learn the benefits to your business and how you can be involved in making downtown Steamboat Springs the best it can be.

Notes from the Board of Directors:
Well, it looks like summer may have finally made an appearance. The brown spots on the mountain have finally touched and the water in the Yampa is receding. It was a long winter, indeed, but we made it through.

All of our downtown construction projects are out of the ground and taking shape. This is good news with the summer season upon us. Our customers and clients can see the future and feel the sense of anticipation rather than the "construction disruption" we experienced last summer.

As many of you know, MainStreet shelved the Business Improvement District (BID) election for this coming November after hearing time and time again the concern over dramatically increased property tax reassessments. We have met with City Council and presented a plan that could raise $200,000, enabling us to hire an events coordinator and administrative staff. City Council members seemed receptive, and they understand that this is an INVESTMENT, not an expense. You may have seen the June 11 editorial in the Today supporting our request. The Pilot Editorial Board understands the value of MainStreet to our local economy, and we are seeing both big challenges and big opportunities with the Base Area redevelopment and the Lincoln Avenue reconstruction.

Our Design Committee submitted a letter to the City Council supporting the most creative option for the reconstruction of Lincoln Avenue and we followed up with public comment on June 10. The chosen option will preserve parking on Lincoln Avenue, greatly enhance pedestrian safety and friendliness, and, with letters and phone calls from all of you, may preserve the Eighth Street light AND install a new light at Eleventh Street.

With this broadening support, the ball is in our court to demonstrate OUR commitment to MainStreet and its ability to help us grow our downtown. Please thank City Council members for their support and take a few moments to bolster their confidence in us. Please renew your membership and encourage your neighboring business owners to join as well. If we show our commitment to making downtown Steamboat Springs the number one place to visit and work, we think the City will respond with increased support through a willing and strong financial partnership.

Towny Anderson

First Friday Art Walk a success
On the first Friday of each month, hundreds of people hit the streets of downtown to visit the various galleries displaying original art in mixed media. This very popular event is growing monthly, raising the level of awareness of quality art available in our community, but also becoming a huge social event for the entire community. The artists are available to discuss their work and light refreshments are offered in many locations. These events take place from 5-8 pm.

At the most recent Art Walk, some of the galleries reported as many as 400-500 attendees, with smaller galleries reporting very impressive numbers as well. With this many people on the streets of downtown, it is an opportunity for restaurants and retail businesses to draw them in. The hardest thing to do is to get people out of their houses and downtown in the first place. Once they are out and right in front of your front door, it is a up to you to invite them in. Targeted advertising encouraging people to come down for the Art Walk and a visit to your restaurant or business is a good plan.

MainStreet Steamboat is very supportive of the efforts of the galleries to raise the consciousness of art in the community to a new level. With the majority of the Art Walk venues being in Downtown, this activity is exactly the kind of special event that draws locals and guests alike to the district. It is not an event that requires a huge number of volunteers. The monthly event has enough momentum that people will just expect it to happen. The goal of the Art Walk is to sell art, but it has also become a huge community social event. As one of the gallery owners put it, "Art Walking has become a verb".

Art, in all its forms, has proven to be an economic engine in many communities across the nation. Whether the art is visual art, theater, music or any of the other forms, creative expression is rapidly growing and gaining audiences. Art and the appreciation of art crosses all socio-economic strata. If you have not participated in an Art Walk to date, you might be surprised at the different kinds of art being presented. Currently the Steamboat Art Museum is featuring cartoon art in the front gallery and an amazing display of black-light art created by Don Woodsmith in the back gallery. K. Saari Gallery is a contemporary gallery, while the Artists' Gallery of Steamboat features the work of the 23 or so artist/owners of the gallery with three artists featured in a new opening every month. On average there are about 15 galleries or alternative art spaces involved in the Art Walk every month.

Highway 40/Lincoln Avenue Reconstruction - Fall, 2009

For the past several years we have known that Lincoln Avenue was on the list of CDOT maintenance projects. Originally the project was to be a mill-and-fill project which would chew up the asphalt and replace it with more asphalt. The project was supposed to have taken place in 2007, but, because of drainage issues, the planning of a streetscape project in downtown and budgeting constraints with CDOT, the project was rescheduled to 2009. The wait has allowed Steamboat to plan and incorporate changes to the curbs and corners, putting fiber-optics in the roadbed to be able to time the traffic lights and making changes to the bus stops.

The scope of work has now changed from a mill-and-fill project to a total reconstruction of the roadway. The new roadway will be concrete instead of asphalt. Concrete lasts closer to 30 years while asphalt has to be replaced every 7-10 years, saving us the pain of 3 repaving projects instead of just one. Work will probably be done in two block sections on one side of the road until that whole side of the road is complete before they turn around and do the other side of the road. Thankfully the work will not begin until the Fall after the Summer tourist season is over. The crews will work until weather prohibits it, then restart in the Spring.

It is still to be determined whether the work will take place during the day or at night. There are plusses and minuses to each scenerio. If the work is done at night, it will be less disruptive to traffic and can be completed faster. On the down side, there would be noise of construction all night (which could be bad for the motels in downtown as well as any residents in the area) and bright flood lights for many months, among other things. This might be the time to weigh in on what you think would be the best plan. These decisions must be made very soon because CDOT and the City are putting numbers to the construction.