Do we need a new police headquarters? Well, if you take one of Chief Joel Rae’s Thursday afternoon tours, you will be convinced, as was I, that the answer is an unequivocal yes. You can’t come away from a tour without being thoroughly convinced of the need. Chief Rae does an exceptional job in detailing the myriad very serious deficiencies in the current facility, so there’s no need to get into all the whys and wherefores in this letter.
There are, however, two hurdles that need to be negotiated before the plan for a new headquarters can become a reality. The first is a building site. The city currently is looking at a lot next to the Iron Horse Inn. Iron Horse is analogous to the sour, spoiled quart of milk in the refrigerator that we haven’t gotten around to throwing out. Why purchase a lot next to the Iron Horse when we already own the Iron Horse? It may be time to take the bull by the horns, close a negative chapter in Steamboat’s history, raze the building, put the land to good use and save taxpayers’ dollars by not buying an adjoining site.
The second hurdle is the sale of the existing police services building. If we were not a home-rule community, state statute would require the sale to be done by formal sealed competitive bid. A sealed competitive bid would require both a bid and a performance bond as well as enabling the city to include any conditions of sale as it deems necessary. The process is objective, unbiased, squeaky clean and obviates any charges of sweetheart deals. So why not use it?
Lastly, the city has employed an architect who has an extensive resume in designing and building police headquarters, which is an excellent strategy because it is a very specialized area of architectural expertise. Why not bring him in for a public PowerPoint presentation with a Q-and-A so we can all feel comfortable and, most of all, supportive of the direction in which we are headed?