Saturday, July 12, 2008

Torian Plum Plaza Promenade Update

No promenade before 2010
Pedestrian pathway at base of ski area still beyond horizon
By Tom Ross (Contact) - Reporter Steamboat Pilot & Today
Saturday, July 12, 2008

Roundabout on time
Steamboat base area redevelopment Project Manager Joe Kracum reported Friday that the new traffic roundabout at Après Ski Way is on time for completion Sept. 15. The first lift of asphalt has been paved on the eastern half of the roundabout and cars already are driving on it, Kracum said. The first run of asphalt should be in place on the entire roundabout by Aug. 11, he added. The project is tracking several thousand dollars less than its $1.9 million budget, Kracum said.

Steamboat Springs — Construction on the much-anticipated pedestrian promenade at the base of Steamboat Ski Area almost certainly will not begin until the summer of 2010.

Members of the city’s Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee stopped short Friday of ruling out 2009 construction on the first section of the promenade, in front of Torian Plum Plaza. But the hurdles remaining to be cleared suggest 2010.

Not the least of the challenges is a group of 100 individual condominium owners at Torian Plum. Also intensely interested are business owners who occupy the commercial condominiums at Torian.

Many of the owners are working hard on the base area improvement project. Others want to be reassured that the public improvements funded by property taxes earmarked for base area redevelopment won’t detract from the advantages their properties already enjoy.

“We have to have 67 percent of our owners in favor,” Torian Homeowners Association board member Ron Harrelson told the Advisory Committee. “The majority of our board members are all for (the promenade), but we’ve even got some board members who are opposed. And unfortunately, there’s a minority of the owners who are adamantly opposed and have been sending fliers and leaflets around.”

The owners at Torian aren’t blocking public improvements at the base of the ski area. But Harrelson said board members need help selling the improvements. The needs of Torian owners, and the complexity of meeting them, are indicative of the challenges ahead.

Harrelson said they feel strongly that their condos offer some of the truest ski-in/ski-out access at Steamboat and are concerned that the new promenade, as some design alternatives show it, would increase the distance from the edge of the snowline to the Torian Plum entrance.

The promenade would wrap around the bottom of the ski area like a horseshoe, providing much-needed cohesion to a resort village that always has been dysfunctional in terms of pedestrian accessibility. Along with construction of the promenade, Burgess Creek would be daylighted in the summer where it flows across the lowest ski trails on the mountain.

Project Manager Joe Kracum said a spoke on the horseshoe, linking the new One Steamboat Place with Après Ski Way, could be built next summer without much difficulty. But the logical first section of the promenade itself is in front of Torian. Before that could begin next summer, a tricky operations and maintenance agreement must be forged with private property owners no later than the end of August. And it would be helpful to know how much property tax revenue will be available for the roughly $9.3 million project, Kracum said.

Other issues

Doug Terry, owner of Terry Sports in Torian Plum Plaza, sounded a confident note about the O&M agreement.

“If we do it, and do it professionally, we can get it done,” Terry said.

However, he agreed that November is a more realistic target date than August.

Nicole Horst of consulting planners Wenk Associates presented a variety of design solutions Friday for different segments of the trail.

She described the complexities of striving for a consistent 5 percent grade along the trail for accessibility and pedestrians in ski boots. Horst has designed multiple ramps feeding into short staircases to surmount elevation changes such as the 20 feet to the top of the grass-covered parking lot at Torian.

Horst wants to leave ample room for fire pits, small amphitheaters for gatherings and a large performance stage. All of those considerations are secondary to ensuring fire trucks can drive within 150 feet of the mountainside of condominium towers.

One feature that could be in jeopardy is a small ice skating rink.

“What I heard during the design charette was that an ice rink might be nice,” Horst said. “But maybe a larger rink located more centrally.”

To obtain information on any property in Steamboat Springs, Hayden, Stagecoach, or the surrounding areas with Buyer Representation, contact
Michelle Diehl, GRI Broker Associate at Century 21Ski Town Associates.
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