Padgett faces school district relocation deadline

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— For more than half a century, Bill Padgett's house has stood at the intersection of Laurel Street, Pawintah Street and Crawford Avenue in downtown Steamboat Springs.

But by next week, the home determined to be historically significant may be little more than a pile of debris.

On Sunday, the Steamboat Springs School District will take ownership of Padgett's property -- and any buildings remaining on it, in accordance with a settlement agreement signed last year by the district and Padgett.

The school district, which previously had taken steps to acquire the property by eminent domain, eventually agreed to give Padgett $568,000 for his 1.5-acre parcel of land. The district says it needs the land adjacent to Soda Creek Elementary School to improve safety issues relative to student drop-off and pickup.

As part of the settlement, the district agreed to let Padgett remain on the property until Sunday and gave him the option of to relocate his family home and another home on the property, as he previously expressed a desire to do.

Any buildings left standing after Sunday's deadline will be destroyed by the district, and the associated expenses will be deducted from the district's payment to Padgett, according to the settlement.

However, Padgett's initial plans to relocate his home to another property within the city have changed, he said Wednesday.

"The house is movable," Padgett said. "But at looking at the overall expense of moving it, plus the improvements needed to be done, it's been decided to go ahead and build new."

Padgett said anyone interested in either home can have them for free if they pay for relocation expenses and have one or both moved by Sunday. He already has offered the home to Habitat for Humanity and the school district, among others.

"You know how the cost of housing is," Padgett said. "This could be helpful, allow someone to have a house."

If no one wants either building, Padgett said he will have the homes destroyed and removed.

"We're not leaving that to the school district," he said.

But time is running short and there's no indication the district is willing to give Padgett any additional time. In the spring, the Steamboat Springs School Board rejected Padgett's request to remain on the property for two additional years. The School Board said it needs to move ahead with plans for the property, although no construction is planned immediately.

School Board President Paula Stephenson said Wednesday that the district expects the stipulations of the settlement agreement to be met by Sunday's deadline.

Padgett, who has lived in the home for many of its 55 years, said he'll have a new home built on nearby family property. He credited his faith in God for helping him through this matter.

"It can be somewhat emotional," he said. "My Christian faith has really meant a lot. I released the whole matter into God's hands."

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