Bill Whittemore: Don’t touch site
September 10, 2013
On Sept. 5, I went to the police department community meeting, along with several other Steamboat residents. We were from all over the town. Not one person in the crowd agreed with the police department about building a new police station on Rita Valentine Park. The police said that for a site for a building they will need:
A. A 3-acre parcel. B. In a central location. C. With multiple access points to town and to Lincoln Avenue.
As far as A. goes, yes, Rita Valentine Park has 3 acres, and all of the other possible police department locations do, too. I fully disagree with their feelings about B. All of the neighborhoods on Anglers Drive and on Hilltop Parkway are very quiet, peaceful areas. That area absolutely should stay that way, along with all the rest of us who want to still have that full, open space park for us to enjoy, our dogs to freely run around, for us to pass through while walking, hiking, cycling, snowshoeing, etc.
We also don't want to scare the wild animals away. The police are not looking at C. correctly. Wherever a police station is located, in any town, it is supposed to be at a very easy location for any person to get to, at all times. It should not be so far away from Lincoln Avenue, not just for people in vehicles, but also for people who are walking.
From their planned location, the police department only has one good access point; that is down to Lincoln Avenue. The other access point is way over on Fish Creek Falls Road. That area is very far from town, the schools and the commercial district. For safety reasons to all of us, the police station should be located on Lincoln Avenue.
The police said that if they could not build at this location, they are still looking at four or five other locations. When any of us residents asked them any type of question about where these locations are, the police would not answer us. Is that fair?
They told us that they need to determine how we (all Steamboat residents) feel about this idea before they discuss this with Steamboat Springs City Council. Never once did they change their minds with what we brought up to them. They added that before they would build a building, we all would be able to vote on if that location is good or bad.
I and many other people know that the Rita Valentine Park is not correct. I very well remember a question asked to anyone who looks at SteamboatToday.com last month. It asked us to answer yes, no or not sure to how we feel about a police station being built at Rita Valentine Park. More than 700 (87.5 percent) voted not to touch that site.