City to rethink center location

Council questions Stock Bridge site

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— Last week, the Steamboat Springs City Council reluctantly affirmed its decision to build a new community center at the Stock Bridge Transit Center.

On Tuesday night, the council second-guessed its site choice, voting 4-3 to revisit the decision later this month.

Council President Ken Brenner proposed the re-vote at the end of Tuesday night's regularly scheduled council meeting. The issue was not on the agenda.

Brenner said new information sparked his proposal.

Building a community center at the Stock Bridge site west of downtown Steamboat might jeopardize the city's ability to receive grant funding in the future, Brenner said. The city received grant money to build the transit center at Stock Bridge.

Brenner also said there are two viable downtown sites that would make good permanent locations for the community center. He said the center belongs downtown.

"I ask that we share this long-term vision," Brenner said, adding that he was not backing out on the council's commitment to replace the community center before the existing one is razed for the expansion of Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Council member Paul Strong, who has consistently backed the Stock Bridge location as the site for a new community center, said he was offended that he wasn't made aware of the new information to which Brenner alluded. Strong said he didn't see a reason to reconsider the resolution unless everyone had new information.

Council member Loui Antonucci seconded Brenner's motion. He said he wasn't happy about his previous vote in support of building at the Stock Bridge site.

"I thought it was really important to try and keep the community center downtown," Antonucci said.

Coun--cil member Kevin Kamin--ski said he was confused about the issue.

"There was a decision made," he said about the council's 5-2 vote last week to build at the Stock Bridge site. Kaminski said people will start to second-guess the council's decisions if its members continue to change their minds.

Kaminski said he agrees with the people who said the community will have parking problems, but he doesn't see Stock Bridge as the only solution.

"I'm sick of hearing that this is the only place you can park in Steamboat Springs," Kaminski said.

Coun--cil member Towny Ander--son, who has consistently been a proponent of a downtown site for the community center, said, "I'm delighted that we're reconsidering."

The city is building a new community center because the old one will be torn down to make room for the expansion of Bud Werner Memorial Library. The previous City Council, which five of the current members were part of, pledged to provide a replacement facility before the existing one is leveled. The council has been pressured by a tight timeline for the library construction.

The council voted last week to approve a resolution affirming Stock Bridge as its site choice for the community center. The council had already voted in favor of the site in May; last week's resolution ratified that decision.

The opposing votes last week came from council members Susan Dellinger and Anderson, who were among the four who voted Tuesday night to revisit the resolution. The other affirmative votes Tuesday came from Bren----ner and Antonucci.

After Tuesday's meeting, Brenner said the Steamboat Springs School District's George P. Sauer Human Services Center on Seventh Street still is a potential site for the community center. He would not name the other site.

The council will revisit the resolution June 27.

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