Friends of the Chief to present update to Steamboat City Council


— The plan to transform Chief Plaza Theater into a single-stage performing arts center inches forward every day, and the Steamboat Springs City Council will hear an update about the project Tuesday.

Friends of the Chief spokesman Jim Cook said the nonprofit group is required to have a public hearing as part of the final application for a $4 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture intended to promote economic development in rural areas. It’s a fixed-rate loan that Cook said is estimated to be 4 percent with a 40-year amortization period.

“We thought City Council would be the best and easiest way to do it,” he said. “We’ll be updating the City Council and whoever is in the audience.”

Friends of the Chief has proposed to convert the 1920s-era, four-screen theater in downtown Steamboat to a single-stage, 455-seat performing arts center. The project is estimated to cost $7 million.

Cook said the best-case scenario for construction was spring 2013 with completion in spring 2014.

The group was asked in January to submit a final application, which is due April 13, Cook said. Friends of the Chief also is required to submit a feasibility study, which recently was completed at a cost of more than $23,000, Cook said. Including contributed time for architects and attorneys, Friends of the Chief has spent about $200,000, he said.

Cook has said that Friends of the Chief expects to find out whether they’ve been formally approved for the USDA loan in May.

A fundraising campaign will begin when Friends of the Chief closes on the theater, which has to take place by October, Cook said, but he would like those efforts to begin this summer.

He said the group has applied to local banks for financing to close on the theater. Friends of the Chief made a $50,000 earnest payment to theater owner Michael Barry in the fall. The sale price wasn’t disclosed, but the theater was listed for sale at $2.9 million.

Cook said Friends of the Chief may try to open up the stage for some events after it closes on the theater and Carmike Cinema’s lease expires. He said it would give people an idea of what a renovated Chief could look like.

“We’re very excited to get started,” he said.

Agenda highlights

5 p.m. Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority meeting

5:10 p.m. Roll call, presentations about the revitalization of Yampa Street, the possibility of moving the city’s public safety operations out of downtown and the agreement to bring an Urban Land Institute technical advisory panel to Steamboat to assist the city with plans; discussion about the Parks and Recreation Commission waiving fees; consideration of a resolution to approve execution of a $400,000 grant from the Colorado Division of Aeronautics to relocate a portion of Routt County Road 44; and the first reading of an ordinance to buy nearly 7 acres next to the Steamboat Springs Airport runway taxiway for $425,000.

7 p.m. Public comment and consideration of a final development plan for Walton Creek Park and Ride, a 450-square-foot bathroom and bus facility, at River Creek Park.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email


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