Public to comment on center

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— The public has a chance tonight to give city officials input about a new Steamboat Springs Community Center.

The Steamboat Springs Planning Commission is scheduled to review development plans for the 8,400-square-foot, $2.9 million community center, planned for a site adjacent to the Stock Bridge Transit Center and bordering the Yampa River.

A project's development plan includes the building layout and overall design. The final development plan includes architectural details such as building materials and floor plans.

In a special meeting tonight devoted to evaluating the center's plans the Planning Commission will review both plans.

"Many times, there is a project where it's not advantageous to separate the plans," said Brian Berndt, the city's assistant director of planning services. "And it does help to speed up the process to some degree."

Completion of the new community center must occur before demolition of the current community center, which is next to Bud Werner Memorial Library and west of downtown Steamboat. That demolition will allow for the $11.4 million library expansion approved by voters in November 2005.

Andrews and Anderson Architects of Golden designed the new community center, which city planners have given a favorable review.

"We're supporting what they're proposing," Berndt said.

If the Planning Commission recommend approval of the center, the Steamboat Springs City Council will then review the building and, like the commission, act on the two plans.

Berndt said Andrews and Anderson also designed Centennial Hall, where tonight's meeting will take place. Plans for the new community center are "very comparable" to Centennial Hall, Berndt said, including many of the same exterior materials and color choices.

Plans for the new community center include a large community room, a kitchen, an office and a conference room for the local American Legion. Also, there will be a porch that Berndt said is "large enough to accommodate activities" and will have steps onto the Yampa River Core Trail, extensive landscaping and an enclosed patio.

"There are a lot of little amenities that are going to be really nice with this building," Berndt said. "It really does take advantage of the (riverside) location. It's meant to be a very flexible space, so we can accommodate a wide variety of groups. You can't get too fancy with that."

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