Steamboat Springs Yampa Valley Medical Center could become a partner in the city's quest to build a new police station.
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City Council members reflect on the police station search
Steamboat Springs City Council members offered different reactions to the latest site possibility Tuesday.
Council President Bart Kounovsky said he was very supportive of looking into the idea.
At first glance, council member Walter Magill also thought it could be a good fit and worthy of future exploration.
Council member Sonja Macys was the only member to vote against spending as much as $300,000 on police station planning this year.
She still was critical of the project Tuesday and said she had not been fully briefed on the latest site under consideration.
"This whole process of the police station has been driven by staff, and council is getting very little information, and it's inappropriate," she said.
Council member Scott Ford said the process has become more involved than it was a year ago when the city was considering selling its downtown campus to BAP, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger.
He said he thinks there isn't a need to rush the decision.
Kounovsky said the council and staff have had time to review the sites, and it's time for the group to discuss them.
"Every 40 years, you need to relook at your needs for the police station, and now is the time to look at it for our council," he said.
The hospital and the city of Steamboat Springs have started talking about the possibility of the city constructing a police station next to a new health center at the corner of Pine Grove Road and Central Park Drive.
Both sides stress the idea still is in the concept phase, and the hospital-owned lot is one of at least five sites where the city still is seriously considering building the police station.
“There are a lot of positives this property brings to our plan,” City Manager Deb Hinsvark said Tuesday, adding that the lack of a big land purchase price makes it a more attractive option than others the city has vetted.
The hospital's lot just across the street from Barn Village joins a long list of more than 20 sites the city has considered for the station.
Hospital CEO Frank May recently reached out to the city with the idea following some of the challenges city staff was having in finding a suitable location for the new station, including blowback from the idea of building it at Rita Valentine Park.
The early discussions with the hospital have focused on the possibility of co-developing the land, and both sides see the arrangement as a potential win-win.
The city would have its new police station in a central location, Hinsvark said, and eliminate the cost of a land purchase by potentially swapping a parcel it owns nearby in Barn Village with the hospital.
And the hospital would find it easier to build a new health center on part of the 3-acre site because the city would help to add costly infrastructure such as utilities and sidewalks on the lot when the police station is constructed.
The hospital also would have more room for future expansion of its main campus on what currently is the city's lot located just behind the emergency room.
While the city has laid out its vision for a new police facility, what isn't clear yet is what services the new health facility would offer.
In a press release announcing the discussions about the lot, hospital staff wrote that it would be a “complementary health center to address community health issues.”
May said Tuesday that he doesn't yet know what services the new health facility would include, but it would aim to serve unmet health care needs in the community.
“It really is kind of a concept at this point in time,” May said, adding the hospital has been talking with local health organizations, including the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association and Mind Springs Health, about the possibilities of the new facility.
Mind Springs Health Regional Director Tom Gangel said his early discussions with May about the facility have been preliminary and have not focused on what services might be available.
"We know we've been good partners in the past, and if we come up with some mutual ideas that would make this community healthier, we'd like to be a partner on this," Gangel said.
The hospital's lot is one of five options city staff still is vetting to bring to the Steamboat Springs City Council for consideration this spring.
Alternatives include a remodel or reconstruction of the current campus on Yampa Street, building a new station on what currently is a city-owned parking lot at 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue, and two other options that would involve purchasing land somewhere in the city.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10
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