City to revisit center debate

Council to revote on Stock Bridge site

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The Steamboat Springs City Council tonight may renege on its earlier decision to build a community center at the Stock Bridge Transit Center area.

The council already has affirmed by resolution the decision to build at Stock Bridge, but earlier this month, it voted 4-3 to revisit that affirmation. The opposing votes were Paul Strong, Kevin Kaminski and Steve Ivancie.

The city is building a community center because the old one will be torn down for expansion of Bud Werner Memorial Library, and the council promised to provide the new facility. The council has been pressured by a tight timeline for the expansion's construction.

Council President Ken Brenner said Monday that he stands by his vote to reconsider Stock Bridge and to look for a downtown site. Downtown is the historical center of Steamboat, he said.

"We need to anchor that and preserve it for future generations by honoring that and placing facilities like a community center there," Brenner said.

Shelley Orrell of the Routt County Council on Aging said she is concerned and so are Steamboat's seniors. The Council on Aging was among a group of community center users that was promised a new center would be in place before the old one was torn down.

The seniors have consistently spoken in favor of the Stock Bridge site. However, Orrell said, she is open to another site if it is feasible and will be ready in time.

"Stock Bridge is not sacred. I don't see a site downtown. If there is one, fine; show me a site," Orrell said. She said she will attend the meeting and someone will speak to represent the seniors' view but she doubts the council will take heed.

Brenner said the council is committed to make sure the needs of the seniors are met.

"The City Council is very much aware of the concerns of the seniors," he said. "We will act as quickly as possible to be addressing those concerns."

Brenner said the council has been working with other groups and officials to solve the community center debate.

"Steamboat Springs is a collaborative community. We are not pitted against each other," he said.

In other business, the council will:

Meet as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Auth--ority. The authority manages issues related to the Urban Renewal Authority, which was created to improve the base of the Steamboat Ski Area. The council is expected to prioritize proposed projects for the area. There also will be an open house this afternoon for people to see some of the proposed changes. During its meeting, the council also will discuss the possibility of a special district to fund the operating and maintenance costs of the area.

Review Howelsen Place, a proposed commercial and residential project that would be constructed at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue and would involve the demolition of the Harbor Hotel. The project includes two mixed-use buildings, both about 42,000 square feet. There would be 11 commercial units, 35 market-rate residential units and seven affordable residential units. The council will review two aspects of the application: the development plan and the final development plan. The development plan deals with issues such as mass and scale; the final development plan focuses on architecture.

Conduct a preliminary discussion of ballot questions for 2006.

Conduct the first reading of an ordinance to vacate the public right of way for the Riverwalk development, which involves the demolition of the Westland Mobile Home Park.

-- To reach Dana Strongin call 871-4229

or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com.

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