Ross Fasolino: Need new cop station?

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I admit to not being involved and therefore uneducated about the need for a new police station. However, from reading this newspaper's articles, it seems that the NEED for a new $10 million police station has been established. Has it?

Reading the police blotter, I'm not convinced. How often do we experience violent crime in Steamboat? Most of our very occasional violence occurs in the county, not in city limits. Do we really need a new police station to handle our daily "dog-at-large" complaints?

I believe our police officers are admirable professionals and their headquarters is outdated and cramped. This is the case for most businesses in our expensive real estate area. But we don't expect every taxpayer in Steamboat to chip in for a big fancy new building, complete with a private gym. We make do with what we have. Should the police be any different?

If our city government is really concerned with public safety, why do they refuse to solve our sidewalk problem?

I live on Oak Street. It is no exaggeration to say a pedestrian is taking their life in their hands to walk down Oak Street in the winter months. I frequently witness young mothers pushing baby carriages through the snow beside parked cars while moving vehicles fly past within inches of them.

It truly is only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs; it's a miracle it hasn't occurred yet, and we, as taxpayers, can expect to pay a huge and justified liability suit. If you want to see this for yourself, simply visit Yampa Street any Friday or Saturday evening.

Our city government has come up with many plans over the years to avoid their responsibility to provide safe sidewalks for our citizens. Requiring new businesses and developers to put in sidewalks has resulted in a crazy, unusable patchwork of sidewalks necessitating a pedestrian to cross a street often many times. Most pedestrians don't bother and walk down the street.

Now our city government is again shifting the buck to a much anticipated URA (Urban Renewal Authority) for the downtown sidewalks, ignoring the pedestrian needs for the rest of the city.

So again I ask, do we really need a new $10 million police station when we are not providing basic public safety infrastructure for our community? How many sidewalks could we build for $10 million?

As with any huge expenditure, the need for a new police station should be put to a vote before the taxpayers are forced to shell out $10 million for a project, which, at least to some of us, does not seem necessary.

Thanks,

Russ Fasolino

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Eric Meyer 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Ross,

This is from the City Sidewalk Master Plan done in 2006...

  1. "The Sidewalk Master Plan has been integrated into the City's Geographical Information System (GIS) and is available to all citizens, developers, and staff on-line through the City's website."
  2. "......the cost of all new facilities and the estimated City cost percentage of the total cost by subarea within the City. In total, approximately $16,100,000 of new sidewalk and trail facilities were identified. Those facilities that would not likely be constructed by new development totaled over $12,000,000 (75% of the total)."
  3. "it is apparent that if additional sidewalk facilities are to be constructed by the City, it will need to allocate money from the general fund."
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Eric Meyer 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Some of the proposed new sidewalks and trails that are in the City's Sidewalk Master Plan were included in the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance's Trails Proposal that was approved by voters. However, the vast majority of the $16,100,000 worth of primarily sidewalks were not included in the Trails Proposal because they did not fit the original Accommodations Tax Ballot language. Obviously to complete a decent percentage of these projects is going to require taking advantage of multiple funding sources. I hope the city realizes that completing these connections is important to this community. They showed that at the ballot last November.

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Eric Meyer 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The past council felt it was necessary for the Accommodations Tax funding question to be taken to the voters even though it could have been allocated on an annual basis by the city council. As Ross mentioned, I too hope the much larger expense of a new police station that is being discussed is also taken to the voters and not just funded out of reserves.

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Erik Dargevics 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Our law enforcement has all the resources they need to continue to their capable service to our community. A 10M police station does little to help our city long term, just like city hall, the empty multi million dollar courthouse.

We are blessed with a low crime tourist economy, bike paths, sidewalks, etc provide a friendly infrastructure for our moose, bears, dogs at large, and tourists.

Boondoggles, police station in the making. Really? Another government taj mahal?

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Cresean Sterne 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Thanks for the article Ross. The community needs to keep standing strong on these topics so all facts and ideas can be heard and considered. Every now and then someone brings up the sattelite station idea providing a second building on the mountain. This idea to me seems to make the most sense allowing patrol to spread out through Steamboat, providing a quicker response time and relieving pressure in one facility. I dont have any idea how much money this would save but it has to be substantial. The more we ignore our sidewalks, the more expensive and difficult it will to to repair and improve. We are a community full of families and children and tourists. This should be a top priority for Steamboat. I live in Oak Creek as well. Although I dont see to much of a danger walking around town except for the occasional loose angry dog, it would be nice to see OC work on grants and ways to allocate funds to begin a chip and seal project through town. I think we would see more families and kids biking, rollerblading and just enjoying not walking in dirt and mud year around. I realize this would require a huge infrastructure with sidewalks, drainage not to mention old property lines that would have to be revaluated. Money of course would be the largest hurdle to jump. Even if OC could work on just the main streets such as Bell, Sharp, and Moffat would be a huge accomplishment not to mention the appeal it would add to Oak Creek

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Cresean Sterne 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Oops.. Miss took Oak St for Oak Creek.. But yes Oak St is horrible for pedestrian traffic. Throughout the years, Oak St has become very commercial and therefore should require a much safer access to store fronts and business's. Parking is tight and now the bike strip just makes it more dangerous. It is a narrow street to begin with but what street isn't narrow down town. They werent designed for this type of growth in Steamboat. To correctly fix the situation, I think that most properties would have to undergo a small loss of their front yard. Some business's my not be to happy about that but it would be very benneficial for all the business's to have better access. I believe they would increase there walkins by quite a bit. Especialy during our busy times.

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Michael Bird 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The sidewalks on Oak Street are owned by the City of SS but must be maintained by adjacent property owners. We had a new sidewalk installed (442 Oak ) as we were told by the City that it was required. A simple solution is to have all property owners do as we had to do. We didn't mind taking the personal responsibility of improving our property. Of course, if our City has excess funds for Oak St sidewalks, we would accept reimbursement of our expense. This would happen the day after true world peace had been achieved and all diseases had been eradicated.

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Scott Wedel 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The current police station is small for the current size of the police force.

The proposed police station could be substantially cut with minimal loss of functionality. For instance, the CEOs of billion dollar companies have smaller offices than proposed for the police chief. The proposed police has multiple meeting rooms dedicated for one purpose instead of using the same space for multiple purposes.

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Harvey Lyon 1 month, 4 weeks ago

You know, maybe, probably, the new police station as proposed is over the top. On the other hand, I believe we have an absolutely amazing police force. Its a touch of Mayberry RFD with the professionalism and training to handle something pretty damn serious.

What they have sucks as a Government Building. Its old, its tired and it doesn't allow them/us to take advantage of new technology as well as we could. Its rather insulting to junior police officers just starting out their careers. And its hard to ask them to be professional when we treat them as we do.

I'm sure, when a young man signs up, he's not visualizing giving a drunk a ride home, chasing away bears, elk etc. I'm sure he's not visualizing doing "health checks" and the myrid of things we see calling 911. And certainly these calls will not advance him in law enforcement careers.

I certainly hope the City is looking at a good compromise as to what we need and what we can afford.

Until then, I say to the SS Police, THANKS, good luck....and please be patient. Its only because of your good hard professional work The City and its residents, can take the time to discuss this.

Harv Lyon

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Pat West 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I agree with Russ, we want a new police station to enhance public safety, but need sidewalks to assure a safer walking public.

As for the needs of a young policeman, ask them what they would rather have, a nice office and meeting rooms, or a better paycheck? I believe putting better pay into an officers pocket will bring better recruits, and hold them longer in our community than a fancy office building.

Finally, Editor, and posters, the letter is written by Russ Fassilio NOT Ross.

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Steve Lewis 1 month, 4 weeks ago

The missing sidewalks represent a hazard.

If only the city spent a fraction of the effort on our sidewalks that they have invested in the police station. It is frustrating to see so little city interest and responsibility for such basic and obviously lacking infrastructure. We built our 50 feet of Oak St sidewalk 14 years ago. People still have to walk in the street to get to us because the corner lots have no sidewalk. Something needs to be done.

Lat year I got a quote from one of the bigger contractors on doing large portions of sidewalk. Then I counted the gaps in sidewalk on Oak St. It would take about $350,000 to finish Oak St's sidewalks. (That doesn't get across the two creeks, but neither does it allow for many sidewalks already owed but not built, per past development permits on Oak St.) The city is spending $300,00 just PLANNING for the next police station. Oak St could use a little love too.

Accommodation Tax funds cannot and should not be spent on downtown sidewalks.

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Russ Fasolino 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful and courteous responses! This is just what I hoped for writing this editorial, to create discussion over what is a more pressing need in our city, sidewalks or a new police station. For the record, I,m not opposed to a new police station, it just seems less of a priority than sidewalks. I am disturbed that the city continues to spend so much money on studying a site for the station (as much this year alone as it would cost to COMPLETE Oak St sidewalks) when they have not asked the taxpayers, who will pay for it, if we even feel it is necessary. They seem to be "full steam ahead" on the 10 million station and unconcerned with pedestrian safety.

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Pat West 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Let's not forget that while the city is spending $300k to "study" the Police station, they already spent $550,000 to beautify the US40 medians south of Ski Haus. Meanwhile we walk in the streets on Oak, and Yampa.

http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2013/sep/02/city-improve-highway-medians-south-entrance-steamb/

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