Planning commission endorses proposal to replace city child care facility
Steamboat Springs — The city of Steamboat Springs’ plan to replace and upgrade an old child care facility near Howelsen Ice Arena recently cleared an important hurdle.
On Thursday, the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the new Igloo.
The 2,500-square-foot building will host up to two employees and 30 children at a time.
It is replacing a 31-year-old modular city officials fear has become a liability due to its condition and old age.
Anne Small, the city’s director of general services, told the commission the city wants to have the new Igloo in place by the end of the fall, with programming starting there in late 2016 or early 2017.
The planning commission endorsement came about a month after the project faced serious questions from elected officials.
When initially asked to approve a budget request for the project, Steamboat Springs City Council members questioned why the project had not gone through the planning process.
Council members were also leery of a $202,865 jump in the price tag of the new Igloo.
The most recent cost estimate for the project came in at $543,000.
To move forward with the project this year, the city is seeking a variance to delay the construction of a new sidewalk on the property until next year.
A soft surface trail will be constructed to serve until the permanent sidewalk is built.
Small said the city didn’t have the sidewalk construction in this year’s budget.
The city also wants to delay the sidewalk construction, because there are plans to pave the parking lot at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena next year. Small said it would be best to wait until then to design the sidewalk to ensure it fits with the yet-to-be designed paving project at the rodeo grounds.
Commissioner Rich Levy was the lone no vote against the project at planning commission.
Levy felt the city’s request to delay construction of a new permanent sidewalk to connect the Igloo to an adjacent property would present a safety hazard in the winter, because a temporary soft surface trail will be harder to keep clear.
He predicted children who access the facility would be forced at times to walk in the street.
“That’s not what I consider to be a safe pedestrian environment,” Levy said.
The new Igloo will move from its current location next to the ice arena to another site — also next to the ice arena — at which Christmas trees are currently dropped off for recycling.
The project will next go to the City Council for consideration.
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