City passes sustainability plan

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Center gets $500,000

The state Department of Local Affairs has awarded the city of Steamboat Springs $500,000 to assist with construction of the city's new community center, a 7,500-square-foot building at the Stock Bridge Transit Center. The grant is part of the state's energy and mineral impact assistance fund, designed to reimburse Colorado communities involved in energy production.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said Routt County's prodigious coal mining has consistently helped Steamboat secure grants.

"The city has always been very successful in our grant programs," she said. "We depend on grants for a significant portion of our capital."

The estimated total cost of the center is $2.5 million.

— The Steamboat Springs City Council has approved the Sustainability Management Plan proposed by the city's Green Team.

Created by the City Council in 2005, the Green Team includes city staff, county employees and interested members of the public. Led by team supervisor Gavin Malia, the team worked with The Brendle Group, of Fort Collins, to create the sustainability plan, which details the steps city officials can take to conserve energy and reduce the city's impact on the environment.

At a cost of more than $10,000, the multi-month process included a review of utility bills from city facilities, the city's fuel and water consumption, waste generation and recycling, and maintenance schedules for city facilities and vehicles, Malia said.

Included in the study's findings is the city's purchase of $5,000 worth of renewable energy certificates for wind power to help heat and cool Centennial Hall; the use of recycled materials in the construction of the city building; and the implementation of environmentally friendly design plans at the new community center, which will be constructed at the Stock Bridge Transit Center site west of downtown Steamboat.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said Thursday that community center design planners are seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification for the building.

"We believe the community center will be the first LEED-certified facility in Northwest Colorado," DuBord said.

The 7,500-square-foot community center has an estimated cost of $2.5 million.

DuBord said the building's design includes innovative water conservation methods such as "gray water irrigation," rooflines that help shade the building during summer and allow natural light during winter, and possibly a geothermal heating and cooling system.

The LEED rating system for building design is a voluntary program facilitated by the U.S. Green Building Council, a national coalition of building industry leaders with more than 6,000 member organizations across the country.

DuBord said community center planners are attempting to receive a "gold" LEED certification, something only four buildings in Colorado have achieved.

"It's a lofty goal, but we think we can get there," Du-Bord said.

Staff writer Melinda Mawdsley contributed to this report.

- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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