Steamboat Springs Editor's Note: This story has been changed from its original version, to reflect that Councilman Kenny Reisman voted against the allocation of $2,000 to Mainstreet Steamboat Springs for a consultation with the Responsible Hospitality Institute.
City officials have approved design plans for a new teen center but until a massive fundraising effort or change in city finances, construction of the facility is put on ice.
The Steamboat Springs City Council unanimously approved Tuesday the final development plan for a three-story, 11,117-square-foot expansion of Howelsen Ice Arena. The expansion would include a teen center, game rooms, concessions, meeting rooms and more. But the approval is basically a placeholder that makes the project ready to move forward at an uncertain date should funding become available.
City Manager Jon Roberts said earlier this week that there are no financing plans or allocated funds for the teen center, and Ed Becker, of Mountain Architecture Design Group, said the firm has no intention to proceed with construction drawings.
“It does allow the teens and the city to look after some grant funds to get this going,” Councilman Walter Magill said about the approval.
Mountain Architecture design associate Chancie Keenan said the expansion could cost about $4 million. Although Keenan said that’s a rough estimate made without construction details, the figure still represents a significant hurdle in providing a dedicated space for teens — long a goal of city staff and many community members.
Steamboat Springs High School senior Matthia Duryea, a member of the city’s Teen Council who has advocated for a teen center, was undaunted by the potential cost. She expressed confidence that future Teen Councils will take on the task.
“We will be 100 percent on that,” she said. “We’ve got some great people coming in.”
Ice arena supervisor Mike Albrecht said the expansion’s designs are on display in the lobby of the arena on Howelsen Parkway.
Also Tuesday night, Colorado Department of Transportation engineer Justin Kuhn gave City Council an update on the downtown repaving project. He all but confirmed that work will extend into fall.
“At this point, we are not really anticipating completing by June 30,” Kuhn said.
Crews are contractually obligated to have Lincoln Avenue cleaned up, drivable and ready for summer tourism by that date. Work can resume Sept. 1. Kuhn said he is “fairly confident” crews will be able to finish the work in the fall.
Kuhn said paving from Seventh to Fifth streets could occur Thursday night, weather permitting. The busy Third Street intersection near the downtown post office could be closed for excavation as soon as next week, he said.
Eric Dorris, of the Space Station gas station, and convenience store asked about the possibility of stopping work June 15 and resuming Sept. 15, to help boost downtown commerce.
“The businesses are getting hammered,” Dorris said. “People are getting nailed downtown. I know I am.”
Kuhn said the need to utilize all of construction season and meet contractual obligations likely rules out stopping June 15, or delaying the fall start until Sept. 15.
In other action, City Council:
■ Voted unanimously to change the name of the New Victory Parkway to Gossard Parkway, in honor of the late philanthropist, arts advocate and Emerald Mountain conservationist Gloria Gossard. The road is under construction west of downtown Steamboat Springs off Downhill Drive.
■ Voted unanimously to impose fees on property owners, contractors and emergency alarm companies who are responsible for unnecessary or excessive emergency alarms.
■ Voted 6-1 to give $2,000 to Mainstreet Steamboat Springs to mitigate impacts of the downtown nighttime economy, primarily bar crowds, on nearby residents, business owners and other stakeholders. The funds will support a one-day seminar with the Responsible Hospitality Institute. Councilman Kenny Reisman opposed the allocation, questioning whether that was the best use of city funds in a tight budget.
■ Denied an appeal by Clear Water Studios, which is seeking to develop two parcels at Betterview Business Park off 13th Street. City staff previously had said the parcels are not developable, largely because of wetland concerns. Council upheld that decision.