Guide for relocation to Steamboat Springs, CO

Accommodations tax benefits trails, Yampa Street

Accommodations tax benefits trails, Yampa Street

If Steamboat looks like it has a great lineup of public amenities, chalk it up to an innovative funding source. Already responsible for building the Strings Music Pavilion, Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and Haymaker Golf Course, a portion (1 percent) of the city’s accommodations tax gets appropriated to fund improvements that will attract visitors and benefit residents.

“The accommodations tax has helped develop amenities that enhance Steamboat Springs as a well-rounded community,” says Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Tom Kern. “From building Haymaker Golf Course to the next 10 years’ worth of trail developments, it continues to support amenities that add to Steamboat’s appeal as a place to visit, live and work.”

Winning the most recent round of improvements are the town’s network of hiking and biking trails and revitalization efforts for Yampa Street downtown. The two projects recently were voted by taxpayers to receive an estimated $6 million in tax proceeds during the next 10 years, or $600,000 per year.

Getting the lion’s share will be local trail-building efforts for biking and hiking, receiving a total of $5 million throughout the next 10 years. Yampa Street revitalization efforts will receive $900,000 throughout the next three years, with improvement plans including everything from the creation of additional public parks to building a 16- to 24-foot-wide walkway along the river side of Yampa Street.

On the trail-building side, the funds will be used by the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance to further expand biking and hiking trails across town, the fruits of which already are being seen. This past summer, funds were used to build the new 4-mile-long Morning Gloria Trail accessing Emerald Mountain.

“It’s a great use of the funds,” the city’s Planning Director Tyler Gibbs says. “Few downtowns have parks like Howelsen Hill and Emerald Mountain adjacent to them, complete with ski jumps and mountain bike trails. Great communities look for these types of opportunities.”

The funds also will be used to expand the Yampa River Core Trail to Humble Ranch south of town, open new public access to the Yampa near the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area, and build new trail networks for mountain biking and hiking. The Trails Alliance ultimately is proposing to build, expand and improve 46 multi-use trails and connectors in the city and adjacent lands. Many of these projects also can be leveraged with grants from such entities as Great Outdoors Colorado.

“The projects involve way more than just building new mountain bike trails,” local trail designer Aryeh Copa says. “They’ll benefit everyone who comes to Steamboat.”

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