City Council to consider final approval of $775K project to replace child care center
The Steamboat Springs City Council will decide Tuesday whether to spend $775,000 and tap into the city’s reserve fund to replace an old child care facility and build a new sidewalk near Howelsen Hill.
The project would require the city spend $385,000 of its reserves.
Some City Council members have expressed concern about the project’s cost and are questioning whether it would be better to put the project on hold or direct funds elsewhere.
“I think we have to look at all the different programs that serve the citizens and look at the cost and the usage and look at who else in the community is providing these services,” Council President Walter Magill said. “We don’t want to be redundant.”
He suggested the council should weigh whether it would be better to provide financial assistance to private groups that provide child care instead of the city investing in a new modular to replace the Igloo.
He also left open the possibility of the project being delayed.
“Is this critical? Does it have to be done this year? Or could we wait one more year?,” Magill asked Monday.
These are the questions the council will weigh Tuesday night as it considers the final reading of the budget request for the project.
A public hearing will come before the vote.
Councilman Scott Ford has said the council should answer whether the city should be in the child care business at all.
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.
Other council members and city staff members have touted the community benefit of the Igloo and the services it provides to local children.
City officials note that in the most recent community survey, 65 percent of respondents felt the city’s afterschool programs were essential or very important.
The city is expecting the project to be supported by $200,000 in grant funding.
City staff is recommending the council sign off on the project this year because a year delay would result in increased construction costs.
City officials estimate the condition of the 31-year-old building is so poor now that the Igloo could only continue to host programming for a maximum of one or two years before expensive repairs to the building might be necessary.
The total cost of replacing the Igloo has increased significantly since the council first approved funding for it.
A large portion of the increase stems from the city having to add certain features to the new modular because it is going to be placed in the floodplain.
The project would move the Igloo from its current location next to the Ice Arena to the portion of the Ice Arena parking lot where Christmas trees are dropped off for recycling.
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