City looking at 2 sites for new downtown fire station
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Challenged with finding a downtown site to build a new fire station, Interim Steamboat Springs Fire and Rescue Chief Chuck Cerasoli told Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday the committee had narrowed down the options from 13 original potential sites to two.
There were four sites analyzed closely, Cerasoli said. He presented schematic drawings of what a station would look like at each location.
The two city-owned sites — current parking lots at Eighth and Oak streets and 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue — would work, Cerasoli said, but are small and don’t leave enough room for parking or the storage of additional vehicles.
The lot at Eighth and Oak is on a one-way street and doesn’t have access to U.S. Highway 40, Suiter said. It is estimated it could cost $8.9 million to construct a new station on the 0.45-acre site. The 10th and Lincoln site is 0.47 acres, and it is estimated it could cost $10 million to build a new station on that piece of property.
The other two sites, which were recommended by an ad hoc committee assembled to study the issue, are privately owned and allow enough space for a four-bay station as well as parking and storage for other equipment, Cerasoli said. He said the owners have been contacted and have expressed interest in selling.
The first is at 1125 Lincoln Ave. on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and 12th Street. It is 0.56 acres and would cost about $2.3 million to $2.5 million to acquire, according to Cerasoli’s presentation. The high level cost estimate to build a new station on that site is $10 million.
Because of size, the other privately-owned site at 401/425 Lincoln Ave. checks the most boxes, Cerasoli said. The property is located at the corner of Fourth Street and Lincoln Avenue and includes parking across the alleyway. It is about 0.8 acres in size and would have sufficient space for everything, including community space for something like public restrooms and a water station.
The acquisition cost is estimated at $3.6 million, with a construction cost of $10.2 million.
Requests for proposals for other possible sites remain open until March 6, according to City Manager Gary Suiter said. Anyone with a downtown site that is half an acre to three quarters of an acre and meets other requirements is still encouraged to reach out to the city, Suiter said.
Another fire-related project discussed by council was upgrades to the Mountain Fire Station.
“When I’m looking at these numbers, we are well over $20 million when you combine the two,” said Council President Jason Lacy, “and that’s certainly not something we can take in all at once.”
Council members agreed the new fire station is the priority and will guide what happens at the Mountain Fire Station.
There are two directions in which to move with the Mountain Station, Cerasoli said, either a renovation and addition or a complete rebuild.
The cost estimate for an addition and renovation came in at $11.4 million, and $13.6 million is the projected cost for a rebuild.
Cerasoli said the benefits are obvious for a new build in terms of life span, meeting city codes and efficiency.
The consensus among the majority of council was to move in the direction of the rebuild, but it was acknowledged the project wouldn’t likely happen during the current council’s tenure.
Still, “I want to see some fiscal responsibility moving forward,” said council member Kathi Meyer, adding she was shocked at the cost estimates.
In terms of funding the new station, Lacy said some of the money would come from the new fire tax, and the rest will come from what is already in the city’s six-year Capital Improvement Project Fund.
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