Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Steamboat Springs City officials Tuesday reaffirmed their support of Ski Town Fields as the site for a potential new recreation center in Steamboat Springs.
The Steamboat Springs City Council voted, 4-2, to move forward with plans to put a $34 million recreation center at Ski Town Fields, on Pine Grove Road near The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs, on the November ballot. An alternate plan to build recreation facilities at Howelsen Hill and Old Town Hot Springs, at a cost of $37 million, was removed from consideration, ending months of debate.
Councilmen Loui Antonucci, Towny Anderson, Paul Strong and Steve Ivancie voted in favor of discussing ballot language for a consolidated, Ski Town facility at the council's Sept. 4 meeting. Council President Susan Dellinger and Councilwoman Karen Post voted against that motion. Councilman Ken Brenner was absent.
The council must finalize language for the ballot issue, which will likely ask voters for funding through property taxes, Sept. 4 in order to include the issue on the ballot in November. City Clerk Julie Jordan has told the council that the ballot must be certified by Sept. 7.
Before a crowd at Centennial Hall, City Manager Alan Lanning presented the council with ballot language for the funding of both consolidated and separate recreation facilities. Many citizens opposed to the proposal for separate facilities attended the meeting, including a collection of teenagers who came to defend the consolidated facility to the council with prepared comments.
But after brief discussion - mostly concerning the wording of the ballot issues - and a show of hands revealing that the majority of citizens in attendance opposed separate facilities, that proposal was unceremoniously tossed aside.
Shannon Lukens, a member of the community group Citizens for a Community Recreation Center, was pleased with the council's decision. She said the consolidated facility, in addition to having a lower price tag, also has more amenities and a better chance for success.
"I don't just want a pool," Lukens told the council. "I want the whole thing."
When Lukens asked if it would be important to attend next week's council meeting, Dellinger suggested the group focus on the November election.
"You are free to come if you like," Dellinger said. "But I think you can see the direction we're going."
The proposal for separate, downtown facilities faded as quickly as it appeared last week, when Lanning asked the council to see a revised presentation by recreation consultant Chuck Musgrave of Denver-based Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture. The council previously voted in July to put the consolidated Ski Town Fields recreation center on the November ballot.
Also Tuesday night, the City Council again heard spirited public comments regarding historic preservation. The council voted, 4-2, last week to enact a temporary ban on building permits involving demolition and exterior alterations of historic structures - those older than 50 years - in Steamboat Springs.
Planning Director Tom Leeson submitted a memo to council asking that the planning and building departments be given some latitude to accept permit applications for projects that would have little or no effect on the historic character of historic structures, in spite of the moratorium.
Several citizens, many of whom live in Old Town or other older neighborhoods such as Brooklyn, expressed their dissatisfaction with the moratorium. Citizens complained of a lack of public involvement leading up to the moratorium and frustration with being unable to repair or upgrade their homes.
Dellinger said a historic preservation ordinance has been in place since 2000, and the city is simply revisiting it.
"What we've done is stopped demolition to a point to revisit the ordinance," Dellinger said. "All we asked for was a little timeout."
No official action was taken by City Council on the subject.