City to review conceptual plans

Officials meet to discuss county's judicial facility proposal

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— The Steamboat Springs City Council and Planning Commission will review preliminary plans of Routt County's proposed judicial facility tonight.

County officials will meet with the city's two boards at 5:15 p.m. at Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

During the meeting, city officials will review the county's conceptual plans for a 54,000-square-foot facility at the southwest corner of Oak and Sixth streets.

The proposal includes the partial closing of Sixth Street and a parking garage on the corner of Oak and Fifth streets.

County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said she expects discussion with council and planning officials to focus on the parking issue and the closing of Sixth Street.

The county is proposing to build a two-story parking garage on the corner of Fifth and Oak streets to serve the new two-story facility as well as the existing annex.

"It will be an interesting discussion," Stahoviak said.

The closing of Sixth Street between Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street is also expected to be another topic of discussion.

"The city does have concerns regarding the impact it could have on downtown traffic and access for emergency service vehicles," Stahoviak said.

Tonight's meeting is an initial phase of the county's plan to build the judicial facility.

After tonight's meeting, the county will have to submit an application to the city's Department of Planning Services for a planned unit development.

"We are on a timeline," Stahoviak said. "We would like to get approval from the city before we go to an election in November."

To fund the new facility, the county is expected to ask voters in November 2002 to approve a referendum to build the facility, which could cost $17 million.

"There is still a lot of work to be done," Stahoviak said.

Commissioner Doug Monger said tonight's meeting will give the county an indication if the proposed building fits in with the city's vision.

"This is all conceptual," Monger said. "We have to make sure the size of the building fits the framework of Oak Street."

The county has been working on the issues off and on for the past eight years. Focus on the project increased significantly this year when the county created the Judicial Facility Committee.

After numerous meetings, the committee decided where a new facility could be built and reviewed drawings of the building.

The committee, which is made up of residents and county and city officials, looked at four sites.

The committee chose a site that is occupied by a building that houses the United Way and other offices across from the courthouse annex. The building was the former site of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

County officials are seeking public support for the new facility because the current courthouse is outdated and too small.

The state has notified Routt County that the historical building is not in compliance with state standards for security and safety.

Currently, shackled prisoners, witnesses and victims are all thrown together in one hallway that leads to two courtrooms.

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