Police station committee finalizes recommendation
July 27, 2015
Steamboat Springs — The citizens committee formed to help the city of Steamboat Springs build a new police station finished its work Monday and handed off the project to the eight elected officials who will ultimately decide the project’s fate.
It’s now up to Routt County commissioners, the Routt County sheriff and the Steamboat Springs City Council to determine whether they will act on the citizens committee’s recommendation to cooperatively construct a shared public safety facility in west Steamboat next to the Routt County Jail.
“Keeping the heat on and keeping things moving is really important,” police station committee member Tyler Goodman said.
The City Council will weigh the committee’s recommendation Aug. 4 and decide what to do next.
Council President Bart Kounovsky suggested the council would work to draft a letter to give to county commissioners that includes a proposed outline for the shared facility project as well as some dates and preliminary cost estimates.
“Then, it’s kind of in their court,” Kounovsky said.
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Commissioners last week agreed to move the project forward on their end by ordering a space needs analysis for the Routt County Sheriff’s Office and its other emergency services. But they hesitated to commit to any preliminary design work on the facility until that space needs analysis was done.
Police station committee members were encouraged by the early progress.
The committee’s last item of business Monday was to vote on a plan B option to recommend in the event elected officials do not move forward with a shared facility.
The committee voted, 6-1, to make plan B the purchase of a vacant piece of land just south of the Hampton Inn as a building site for a standalone police station.
Charlie MacArthur was the lone “no” vote.
MacArthur said the costs of purchasing the site and other infrastructure work there made it a less appealing back-up option for the city than building a police station on a piece of land the city already owns, such as the Stockbridge Transit Center.
Committee members who supported the plan B site said it is centrally located and easy for the public to find with U.S. Highway 40 frontage.
Kounovsky and councilman Walter Magill praised the committee for its four months of work and said the next step would be to see if the city has a willing partner in the committee’s proposal for a joint facility.
“We’ve got to get commitment from our other partners now,” Magill said.
Kounovsky predicted the committee’s recommendation for a police station will prove popular.
“This is a strong group. There were a lot of great opinions,” Kounovsky told the committee. “You guys came to an answer the community can really get behind, so I appreciate that.”