Photo by Brian Ray
City of Steamboat Springs Facilities Manager Bob Robichaud makes his way past stacks of storage boxes in the hallway at City Hall on Tuesday afternoon. The boxes are being stored in the hallway to create additional office space for employees.
Steamboat Springs The city of Steamboat Springs has been driven to creativity when it comes to finding space for its employees to work.
"We're out of space here," City Manager Alan Lanning said at City Hall on Monday. "We're taking a hallway and making it an office. Plus, we're renting a house across the street."
In advance of the budget discussions set to begin in a matter of weeks, the Steamboat Springs City Council was briefed Tuesday on the city's shortage of work space. A space-needs assessment conducted last year showed that the city has about 50 percent of the assignable space it needs at City Hall on 10th Street. The situation is even worse at the city's public safety building, where the assessment identified a need for 26,684 square feet. The current Yampa Street facility is 7,753 square feet.
Last year, Lanning attempted to put $750,000 in the city's budget for a new City Hall. That amount would have brought the city to a point just short of engineering the building. The allocation was rejected by City Council.
The city has identified three options for where to construct a new City Hall. The preferred option of the consultant that conducted the space needs assessment is to build a $12.2 million, 31,500-square-foot facility on the site of a parking lot adjacent to the existing City Hall. That cost estimate includes the demolition of the existing City Hall for a replacement parking lot.
The other options are an $8.6 million renovation of the existing City Hall and an $18.6 million, 40,000-square-foot facility on the parking lot site that would include space for the city's police services. The cost of a new public safety building separate from City Hall is estimated at $10.5 million.
Despite the consultant's recommendation, council members on Tuesday showed a preference for the larger City Hall option.
"I think consolidation is the way to go," Councilman Steve Ivancie said. "I think next year we should be well on our way to planning it and bonding for it."
Council President Loui Antonucci said a new City Hall would be an attractive addition to Lincoln Avenue.
"I think it benefits the Lincoln Avenue streetscape to have a building there instead of a parking lot," Antonucci said.
Noting downtown parking needs, resident Bill Jameson encouraged council to consider a tiered parking structure on the site of the existing City Hall if it is demolished, rather than another surface lot.
In other action
Also Tuesday, council members unanimously expressed their support for the Steamboat Springs Airport after hearing a report of a consultants study that showed redeveloping the airport for other uses would require a subsidy of between $6.7 million and $9.5 million. The study was conducted among calls from some that the airport should close.
"I would hope that what you've heard tonight will take a huge cloud off of the airport," said Mike Forney, a local pilot and chairman of the Yampa Valley Airport Commission. "I'm encouraged as a pilot and as a member of the airport commission that we have these facts on the table."
The council voted, 4-3, Tuesday to extend to July 30 a deadline for vacation home rentals to comply with a city ordinance passed last year regulating the properties while the city considers making changes to it. The original deadline was the end of this month.
At the end of Tuesday's meeting, council members went into executive session to discuss the possible acquisition of a parcel within city limits and the city's contract with Triple Crown Sports.