Police station committee to explore wide range of options for new station | SteamboatToday.com

Police station committee to explore wide range of options for new station

Scott Franz

In many ways, the new citizen police station committee is taking Steamboat Springs’ three-year-old police station project back to square one.

Can a station be constructed as a shared facility with other organizations like the Routt County Sheriff’s Office and save taxpayers money?

Is the best place for a station between 13th Street and Pine Grove Road as city officials suggest, or can it be constructed to the west of downtown?

Do police officers need a workout facility in the station?

And is the existing site not the best place for the station?

These are just a sampling of the questions committee members posed Monday during the group’s second meeting.

Many of the questions have been tackled by city staff and the Steamboat Springs City Council in recent years, but the committee is giving all of them a fresh look.

The committee kicked off the meeting by proclaiming the current station is inadequate, but committee members had different reactions to their recent tours of the station.

“Certainly the space is cramped,” committee member Charlie MacArthur said. “But I was a little bit surprised that I saw a lot of opportunity for remodel. There was a lot of space that was ill used or used improperly.”

For example, he questioned whether an animal control officer should be working in a closet when 200 to 250 square feet of the station was dedicated to a workout facility.

Many other committee members didn’t have hope for a remodel of the facility.

“The building for the police department is an embarrassment to the community,” former city planning director Tom Leeson said. “There is absolutely no question in my mind they need a new facility.”

Committee chairman John Kerst said he was “appalled by the space.”

Committee members cited security concerns, poor air circulation, the cramped quarters, uncovered patrol vehicle parking and a lack of evidence storage as some of the reasons they agreed with the Steamboat Springs City Council that a new facility is needed.

However, committee members were split as to whether the existing downtown location on Yampa Street should be considered as a possible site for a new police station.

The committee then pored over a map of all the places the city has considered for the new police headquarters.

The group asked city staff for more information about how often patrol officers need to go to the station.

The information could help the group decide whether it should consider recommending a building site that is west of 13th Street.

Committee members will meet again at 10:30 a.m. Monday in the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Public comment is accepted at the meetings.

The public can keep up with the committee meetings by visiting the city’s website at http://www.steamboatsprings.net and clicking on the committee webpage under the “New Police Facility” tab.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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