Community center progresses |

Community center progresses

City planners give thumbs-up to two projects

Mike Lawrence

— The proposal for the new Steamboat Springs Community Center took a major step forward Thursday night.

The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission resoundingly recommended approval of the community center, voting almost unanimously in favor of a revised design that features three gabled roofs, a covered walkway across much of the building’s front façade, increased landscaping and the use of new building materials, including stucco, stone and shingles. The 8,400-square-foot, $2.9 million center is planned for a 2.3-acre site bordering the Yampa River and adjacent to the Stock Bridge Transit Center, west of downtown Steamboat Springs.

“I’ve come around 180 degrees with my viewpoint on this project,” commission member Dick Curtis said. “I was quite critical of the first architectural rendering, but I now think this is going to be the signature building we’re looking for as a gateway to downtown.”

Commission member Nancy Engelken joined a unanimous vote in favor of the center’s “footprint,” or site layout, but cast the sole vote against the center’s final development plan, which includes architecture and landscaping details. Engelken called the center’s design “disjointed,” citing the one-story front section backed by a large community room with a roof that reaches a two-story height.

“There isn’t enough cohesion for me,” Engelken said.

Engelken and commission member Steve Lewis also expressed concerns with a statement by community center architect Nan Anderson, of the Golden firm Andrews and Anderson Architects. Anderson told the commission that due to parking area adjustments in the re-design, the site’s parking availability is “maxed out,” which could prohibit future community center expansion.

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“With any future needs that might need to be incorporated, we now have our hands tied,” Engelken said. “And that could be problematic. I think this is a very difficult site.”

City officials and the public have raised questions about the best site for a new community center throughout the planning and design process.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said she is confident the community center will be built at the Stock Bridge site.

“As far as I’m concerned, that’s not a question,” DuBord said. “We wouldn’t have spent the money we’ve spent so far if we weren’t certain about (the site).”

In response to a question from Curtis, Anderson said the redesign and new materials could increase the community center’s cost between 1 percent and 3 percent, which equates to $30,000 to $90,000 in additional costs.

DuBord said a contingency of between 10 percent and 15 percent is built into the community center cost estimate.

The commission’s recommendation moves the community center to the Steamboat Springs City Council, which is scheduled to review the proposal Tuesday. An affirmative vote by the council would clear the way for community center construction in the spring.

Also Thursday, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended council approval of Sundance North Village. The proposed development includes 22 residential units, underground parking, and 45,370 feet of office and retail space in four buildings on the north side of Anglers Drive. The location is directly across Anglers from the Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center, which includes a U.S. Post Office and the Egg & I restaurant.

Local realtor and developer Jim Cook is the principal partner for Sundance North. Cook is also the principal partner in the downtown projects Howelsen Place, Alpenglow and Riverwalk. While all four projects are mixed-use developments that include commercial use, Cook said Thursday that he is confident he will fill all the commercial lots.

“I’m 50 percent full on all of them,” Cook said, excluding Riverwalk, which like Sundance North is pending final council approval. Plans for Howelsen Place, Alpenglow and Sundance North include a total of about 30 commercial spaces.

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