Steamboat Springs’ City Manager Deb Hinsvark and Police Chief Joel Rae have held two community meetings the past two weeks to explain to the community why they think that 3 acres of Rita Valentine Park is the ideal location for the new $8.9 million Steamboat Springs Police Department headquarters.
In addition to spending $50,000 of taxpayer money on the studies and plans for these two meetings, our city staff is willing to call a required special citywide election to ask all residents of Steamboat Springs to approve the removal of these 3 acres from Rita Valentine Park. The cost of a mail-in ballot, similar to the Steamboat 700 vote, would be an additional $38,000 of taxpayer money.
The Steamboat Springs City Council appears to be allowing these excessive expenses with very little objection. Council member Scott Myller said at the council meeting Sept. 3 that he saw no problem continuing to consider the 3-acre RVP parcel, because it already was compromised by being close to the overhead power lines in that area of the park.
During the past 10 years, Steamboat residents have repeatedly responded in numerous surveys that preservation of open space is the No. 1 concern of residents. Another concern of residents is fiscal responsibility of city government. It appears obvious to anyone at these recent meetings that the city manager and the police chief have very little regard for preservation of open space or fiscal responsibility. Why does a community the size of Steamboat Springs need an $8.9 million police headquarters? That issue has never been addressed. The Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. is building a much larger restaurant and lodge at Four Points this summer, and the cost of that is $4 million. The proposed police department, with its own onsite workout facility, will be palatial.
Is it possible that City Council is sound asleep while Deb and Joel are chasing their wildest dreams? That is what is apparent to anyone who has attended either of these recent meetings regarding the proposed police station.