Tuesday, February 17, 2004
When I decided to move to a ski resort 35 years ago, I visited several and chose Steamboat Springs. It was and remains a real town with real people. Town was a place where you could go to the bank, wash your clothes in the Laundromat, pick up the mail, and buy some groceries -- all without a car.
OK, so groceries now are mostly a car ride away. But why chase our courts out of downtown?
There is talk about "revitalizing" Old Town, but plans to build that $15 million justice center out west by the jail are a far greater loss than the uncertain gain of minimal cost savings. How much more will need to be spent to revitalize the heart of our community if Old Town loses the courts, jurors, attorneys, judges and staff, not to mention the 3,000 annual users of the courts, almost 90 percent of whom are not being held in the jail?
Our county already owns the land, obtained the financing and has a reasonable plan. County commissioners say the project was forced out of town when the bond election failed, but alternative financing has made that issue go away.
Residents are starting to rethink this decision. We need to let our county commissioner's know a change of direction is needed, and it is not too late. Let's save the justice center for Old Town Steamboat Springs.