Bridge decision postponed

Soul Center of the Universe Bridge may be renamed Stockbridge

Dana Strongin

The Steamboat Springs City Council delayed on Tuesday the decision between naming a local bridge after a soul singer or after the area’s ranching heritage.

The council voted unanimously in support of tabling a resolution that would have changed the name of the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge to Stockbridge.

In 1993, the city conducted an opinion poll to name the west-side bridge. More than 26,300 people responded to the poll; 7,717 of them voted for the James Brown name. The No. 2 choice was Stockbridge, which received 7,459 votes.

The James Brown name has continued to raise discussion among the community. This fall, a group of ranchers visited a City Council meeting to promote the Stockbridge name. And city staff recently received a petition with about 170 signatures of people who want the name changed to Stockbridge.

The resolution drew the attention of several area community members who stood to speak Tuesday night.

Bill Montag, who was in support of the change, said that ranching was a thriving industry in the area and that the original Stockbridge was a vital part of it.

Larry Monger, a Routt County resident, said he didn’t understand the James Brown name.

“I was curious as to why we named it that in the first place,” he said.

George Krawzoff, a city employee who was sharing a personal opinion, said he likes the James Brown name because it recognizes diversity.

“The bridge speaks to open—-ness in the community,” Kraw–zoff said.

Krawzoff was one of three people who encouraged the council to allow community members time to comment on the possible change before making a decision.

Council member Loui Anto–nucci, who was on the council in 1993, agreed with those community members.

“I would not be in favor of doing this without notifying the public and hearing more input,” Antonucci said.

Council member Steve Ivancie agreed. Perhaps the issue should be on November’s ballot, he said.

“It’s been 13 years. Why not? I think we should revisit this,” Ivancie said.

Council member Kevin Kam–inski called the issue “odd.” He was not in favor of revisiting the name issue.

“This is bigger than I think anybody in this room realizes,” he said. “It’s just going to reopen a wound.”

Council member Paul Strong agreed that the bridge’s name was a controversial issue.

“We’re going to make half the people angry,” he said.

The council decided to allow more time for public comment and is set to revisit the bridge name issue March 7.

–o reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229

or e-mail

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