Steamboat Springs This city's long search for a place to build a new police station got more focused Tuesday night.
But even as the search progressed, the Steamboat Springs City Council was nearly split regarding how urgently the city needs the new station.
After a long briefing about the city's top five building locations, a slim majority of the council directed city staff to focus their search on three empty lots away from downtown and the current public safety campus on Yampa Street.
The sites most favored by the council include a parcel owned by Yampa Valley Medical Center at the corner of Pine Grove Road and Central Park Drive, a lot next to the Western Convenience gas station off Hilltop Parkway and a lot just south of the Hampton Inn & Suites off U.S. Highway 40.
Council member Walter Magill said he preferred the sites that weren't downtown because the police force likely would outgrow those locations.
Some council members also thought the police station at its current location does not fit in with the proposed redevelopment on Yampa Street.
“I think it's exciting,” council member Kenny Reisman said after the council narrowed the list of locations it wants city staff to look into.
Reisman and council members Scott Myller and Walter Magill favored the list of three preferred building locations and kept city staff moving ahead on the police station project.
Council members Scott Ford and Sonja Macys did not support the list of preferred sites and questioned the timing of the discussion.
Council President Bart Kounovsky and member Tony Connell did not participate in the site discussion because they each have business connections to some of the potential building locations.
Ford kicked off the police station discussion by asking his fellow council members whether the station still was the city's No. 1 capital need.
“I think we're a wee bit ahead of ourselves,” he said.
Ford and Macys supported tabling the site talks indefinitely until the council had that conversation.
The motion failed, 2-3.
In response, council president pro-tem Myller said the council now has spent several meetings discussing the police station project, and a majority of members have supported moving ahead every time.
In the fall, the current council approved $300,000 for the design and planning of the new station.
Discussing her ongoing opposition to the project, Macys said Tuesday that she felt like she was being asked whether she wanted “red shoes, green shoes or blue shoes when I don't want any shoes.”
“I don't think this is the right time for this project, and there are too many unknowns for us to make a decision on this,” she said.
She said land costs at the sites the city doesn't own and the financing of the entire project remain significant unknowns.
Tuesday night marked a significant milestone in the city's quest to build a new police station that now has been evolving for more than two years.
The three sites the city now will vet more thoroughly were selected from a list of 29 locations across the city.
Learn more about the sites on the interactive map below:
City of Steamboat's top five building sites for a new police station
Public safety campus timeline
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10