Guide for relocation to Steamboat Springs, CO

Getting better all the time: Accommodations tax benefits trails, Yampa Street

Getting better all the time: Accommodations tax benefits trails, Yampa Street

090613_Downtownreport2Great towns don’t grow on trees — a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to ensure public amenities are both prioritized and funded. In Steamboat, the roots of success are found in an innovative funding source known as the accommodations tax, whereby 1 percent of the city’s accommodations tax gets appropriated to fund improvements that will attract visitors and benefit residents. Already responsible for building the Strings Music Pavilion, Tennis Center of Steamboat Springs and Haymaker Golf Course, the tax now benefits Steamboat’s growing network of hiking and biking trails, as well as ongoing revitalization efforts to spruce up Yampa Street downtown.

The two projects were recently voted by taxpayers to receive an estimated $6 million in tax proceeds over the next 10 years, or $600,000 per year.

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

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

On the trail side, the funds will be used by the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance to further expand biking and hiking trails around town. Funds have already been used to build the new four-mile-long Morning Gloria Trail accessing Emerald Mountain, and there are plans to open new public access to the Yampa River near the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area and build additional trails on Emerald Mountain and more. “Building trails is a great use of the funds,” says the city’s planning director Tyler Gibbs. “Few downtowns have parks like Howelsen Hill and Emerald Mountain adjacent to them, and it’s great to have the opportunity to improve them even more.”

Leveraging the proceeds with grants from such entities as Great Outdoors Colorado, the Trails Alliance ultimately is proposing to build and improve 46 multi-use trails and connectors in the city and adjacent lands. “The projects will benefit everyone who comes to Steamboat,” says local trail builder Aryeh Copa.

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