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Loretta Van Norstrand: Center’s location

The Steamboat Pilot & Today’s article on preliminary denial of the courthouse location by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made it clear that our county commissioners are committed to having “their way” at any (and every) cost to taxpayers and with little regard for environmental protection regulations.

The majority of Routt County voters did not say no to building the judicial facility downtown. That wasn’t a question on the ballot. Voters said no because the structure was too big and out of character with Steamboat Springs, the cost was too high, and the monstrous parking garage added only 35 spaces at great expense. My opinion is that taxpayers were (and are) more concerned about the courthouse price tag than the location.

Instead of recognizing these concerns, Routt County commissioners are paying exorbitant amounts to out-of-town architects, threatening a costly lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers, and now are planning to spare no expense to provide more space for city and county staff.

After the resounding defeat of the justice center mill levy, the commissioners gave little consideration to the public’s opinion before announcing that they had decided on a west of town location. Personally, I was disappointed with the cursory “discussion” on where the justice center would be located but the Commissioners had made up their minds. If there had been a full discussion, perhaps we would not be in this situation.

The justice center should not be built west of town simply because the commissioners demand it. The destruction of wetlands and climbing costs to the taxpayer should be their top priorities. The commissioners’ injured pride should not be a consideration at all.

Loretta Van Norstrand

Steamboat Springs


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