City stands by site

Council reaffirms Stock Bridge choice

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— Building the new community center at the Stock Bridge site is a sure thing -- again.

For the second time this month, the Steamboat Springs City Council approved a resolution affirming the selection of Stock Bridge as the location of the future community center.

The city is building a new 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.

During public comment, which came before the council's 4-3 vote, several people stood by the Stock Bridge site.

Nancy Stahoviak, Routt Coun--ty commissioner, read a letter written and signed by all three commissioners stating that they were "both disappointed and confused" by the council's decision earlier this month to revisit the resolution.

"Constructing the new community center will not in any way jeopardize the city's ability to receive grant funds or diminish the viability of the transit center," the letter states. "What has a greater potential of jeopardizing future grant funds is the city's inability to maintain its commitments to its local government partners and other entities that are directly impacted by its reversal of such commitments."

One reason council members said they voted to revisit the decision was because they thought building a community center at Stock Bridge would hurt the city's chances to receive grant funding. Stock Bridge includes a transit center that was partially funded by grant money.

Tom Hopp said he supported the Stock Bridge site and the council was showing "a shameful exhibition of indecision."

Shelley Orrell, program director for the Routt County Council on Aging, was upset about the council's fluctuating decisions. Seniors are considered to be one of the community center's "super users." The council promised those users a new center would be in place before the old one is torn down.

"Do you wonder why we question your credibility and integrity?" Orrell asked.

Maggie Berglund did not favor of the Stock Bridge site. It is not a nice area for hanging out, she said, and the location wouldn't be convenient for people who want to walk to the new center.

After public comment, council member Loui Antonucci said he earlier voted to reconsider the resolution because he was worried about grant money. He said he was no longer worried about that. Also, Stock Bridge may not be the best site, but Antonucci said he isn't sure a "best site" exists.

Council member Steve Ivancie said he was not in favor of holding up the process any longer.

"How much farther are we going to drag this out?" he asked. He said no site will be perfect, but now is the time to make a decision.

Council member Susan Dell--inger didn't agree.

"We haven't done our due diligence" in looking for a site, she said. "We've got to be careful that we're doing the best thing with all the monies involved."

Council member Paul Strong reminded the council that the city looked into many sites.

"I don't feel like we're rushing this, because we've been talking about this for a year now," he said.

Council member Kevin Kam--inski said the site was acceptable and that he wanted to see a decision made.

"We were elected to make decisions," he said. "We were not elected to get re-elected."

Council member Towny And--erson said careful planning was needed. There is potential duplication between space at the community center and space at a potential recreation center, he said. It has the potential to make the council look like "we're spending money like drunken sailors," he said.

Anderson said a businessman in town has offered a building for a temporary community center while the city searches for a new one.

The council's decision played out in a wave of motions.

Strong moved to reaffirm the resolution, and Ivancie seconded the motion. Then the motion was taken over by Antonucci's motion to table the resolution until more information came forward about the businessperson Anderson mentioned.

Strong said he was having a difficult time acting on a potential transaction he knew nothing about.

Ivancie agreed.

"If there is information out there, it should be there at this meeting," he said.

The council withdrew the motion to table the reaffirmation and went into executive session to discuss the businessman Anderson mentioned.

When they returned, Antonucci moved to table the issue until July 6. Anderson seconded the motion; he and Antonucci were the only two who voted for it.

Then, Antonucci, Anderson and council President Ken Brenner voted to table the issue until July 18. The motion did not pass.

The reaffirmation of the resolution to support the Stock Bridge site was finally approved in a 4-3 vote, with Dellinger, Brenner and Anderson opposing the reaffirmation.

The council also voted 4-3 -- with the same opposing votes -- to build the mid-priced option of the proposed center.

-- To reach Dana Strongin call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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