City Council approves 1st reading of budget for Igloo, denies sidewalk variance |

City Council approves 1st reading of budget for Igloo, denies sidewalk variance

A rendering shows what the new Igloo will look like.

— The Steamboat Springs City Council has approved the first reading of a budget for a new child care center, despite the project’s increasing cost.

City officials now estimate it will cost $650,000 to replace the old Igloo with a new modular building next to Howelsen Ice Arena.

If the project moves forward, the city also will have to spend an estimated $150,000 to complete sections of sidewalk on the property to make it more pedestrian-friendly.

Overall, completing the project will now require about $410,000 from the city’s capital reserve fund to complete.

City staff attempted to forgo the sidewalk as part of the project and Tuesday, was seeking a variance to delay construction until next year and instead construct a temporary soft surface trail.

Anne Small, director of general services, said the city didn’t have the sidewalk construction funds in the budget this year; the city also wanted to wait to delay construction of the sidewalk so it would better mesh with a repaving of the parking lot at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.

However, council rejected the variance based on concerns it would send a bad message and set a bad precedent for the city to delay construction of the sidewalk when a private developer in a similar situation might be forced to build one.

Councilman Jason Lacy noted he could not recall the city approving many variances for private investors such as the one the city was seeking for itself.

He suggested it could appear as though the city was receiving special treatment.

“I think that sends the wrong message to the community,” he said.

Council President Walter Magill also did not buy the arguments about the need to delay the sidewalk construction.

To solve the problem, he said, the city should simply leave off the final 50 feet of the sidewalk that connects to the rodeo grounds so it can be better integrated into the future project at that location.

The city is replacing the Igloo, because it has become outdated and is need of repair.

The new modular will allow the city to increase the number of children it serves at the child care facility.

But the project has hit several bumps along the way, and the current price tag is nearly twice as much as the city’s 2014 estimate, not including the cost of the new sidewalk.

The project is expected to be supported by $200,000 in grant funding from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Some council members appeared to be experiencing sticker shock concerning the cost of the project during recent meetings.

Councilwoman Robin Crossan questioned whether the city should proceed with the building replacement or use the money on a larger project that would also incorporate such things as a teen center.

Councilman Scott Ford voted against the budget for the project and questioned whether the city should be in the child care business in the first place.

During a previous meeting, the council was concerned the project had not yet gone through the city’s planning process.

The Igloo replacement cleared that planning hurdle last week.

“We readily admit we could have done some better planning,” Parks and Community Services Director John Overstreet said. “We accept that.”

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

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