City Council accepts police station recommendation | CraigDailyPress.com

City Council accepts police station recommendation

Scott Franz

This satellite image from Google Maps shows the potential building location of a combined public safety facility just north of the Routt County Jail and adjacent to U.S. Highway 40 in west Steamboat Springs. According to county officials, the space could support a 15,200-square-foot building footprint and expanded parking.

— Eight months ago, the Steamboat Springs City Council couldn’t agree on where to build a new police station.

So it turned to the community for help, and on Tuesday night, it accepted a citizens committee’s recommendation to pursue a shared public safety facility with Routt County on the west end of the city.

“You’ve led us out of the wilderness,” councilman Scott Ford told the leaders of the citizens committee before the council voted to accept the group’s recommendation.

Council’s resolve to pursue a shared facility next to the Routt County jail marks a significant turn in what has been a more than three-year-long quest to build a new police station in Steamboat to replace the cramped and outdated headquarters on Yampa Street.

The council will now wait a few weeks to see how the county will proceed with a space needs analysis it recently committed to doing for its emergency services.

The council viewed this step as a positive sign the county is interested in potentially building a public safety facility with the city.

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But some council members on Tuesday expressed a desire to see the analysis done within 90 days so that talks about a potential shared facility can continue.

The next step would be conceptual architectural drawings.

Councilman Kenny Reisman asked the citizens committee how much time it thinks the city should take to pursue the idea.

Committee co-chairman Charlie MacArthur told the council most members of the citizens committee want to see the facility built within the next three years.

In the event the city and the county are not able to construct a shared facility, the citizens committee recommended that the city build a standalone police station on a vacant piece of property just south of the Hampton Inn on U.S. Highway 40.

The council accepted that as plan B on Tuesday.

Councilwoman Sonja Macys was not in favor of that portion of the recommendation, saying that wetland mitigation on the property could be costly and needed to be investigated further.

Council President Bart Kounovsky and councilman Tony Connell stepped down from the discussions about the police station recommendation because both have potential conflicts of interest related to the plan B property for a police station.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10