City’s 4-year-old quest to build new police station nearing finish line?
City, county resolve to reach agreement over shared law enforcement facility
Steamboat Springs — When Routt County commissioners and Steamboat Springs City Council members sit down at their Thanksgiving dinner tables this year, they could be saying they are thankful for successfully negotiating a deal to build a shared law enforcement facility that could save taxpayers more than $1 million.
The elected officials on Tuesday resolved to try and reach that agreement over such a facility next to the Routt County Jail by Nov. 15, days before Turkey Day.
Construction could begin as soon as next year.
Representatives from the city and the county will spend the coming weeks trying to iron out the details of building a 22,307-square-foot facility that would house the city’s police department as well as several functions of the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.
The city and the county must find a way to resolve a $600,000 to $800,000 shortfall from the county in the proposed project budget.
The design could be pared down slightly, or the elected officials could come up with some other solution.
Still, both sides sensed they were very close to making the project a reality.
“We are this close to putting a bow on top of it,” Commissioner Cari Hermacinski said.
Her enthusiasm for the project was shared by all of the other elected officials in the room.
“This is a no brainer that we should be taking this to the next step and forming a negotiating team,” Councilwoman Kathi Meyer said.
The progress made Tuesday was perhaps the biggest step the City Council has taken toward ending a more than four-year-old quest to replace the outdated and cramped police station on Yampa Street.
While the city still has an option to build a stand-alone station off of U.S. Highway 40 just south of the Hampton Inn, that option wasn’t discussed in any detail on Tuesday.
Council members also made it clear they prefer the idea of going with the less expensive, and more collaborative, option of sharing space with the county.
The proposed facility would provide 13,381 square feet of shared space, including a lobby, a lunch room, evidence storage and a records area.
The city would pay 60 percent of the cost of the shared space, while the county would pay 40 percent.
The breakdown is based on the size of each government’s law enforcement organizations.
The shared facility would cost nearly $11.8 million, according to a report from the city with the city’s contribution totaling $10.3 million.
By comparison, the city estimates it could cost $11.4 million to construct a stand-alone, 18,108-square-foot police station.
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