Forward thinking or too costly? Steamboat City Council calls special meeting to discuss possible purchase of newspaper building | SteamboatToday.com

Forward thinking or too costly? Steamboat City Council calls special meeting to discuss possible purchase of newspaper building

Steamboat Pilot & Today's printing operations were moved to Gypsum, leaving a large amount of warehouse space unused.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The potential purchase of a new city hall building will be on the menu Monday when the Steamboat Springs City Council sits down for lunch at a special meeting.

Some council members are continuing to show interest in acquiring the Steamboat Pilot & Today's current offices at Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40.

Councilwoman Kathi Meyer recently suggested the special meeting to decide whether the city should write a letter of intent and try to pursue the purchase of a new city hall.

"I think it's time that we spend some quality time saying either we're serious about this, or let's pass on this opportunity," Meyer said Tuesday.

The public can weigh in on the potential acquisition sometime during the council's special lunch meeting, which will start at noon Monday in Citizens Hall.

The council also might spend some time behind closed doors at the meeting discussing the potential real estate deal.

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The Steamboat Today's former owners have listed the office building and 1.5 acres of vacant land for $5.5 million, and city officials have estimated it would cost at least another $1 million to renovate the structure into city offices.

Some council members appear more interested in the real estate deal than others.

Councilwoman Robin Crossan wants to consider the purchase.

She said it would be "inappropriate" for the city not to explore an option that would cost the city less than building a brand new building.

And councilwoman Lisel Petis noted the city has several assets it could sell, including its current city hall parcel downtown, to help pay for the new city hall project.

"It's preparing for the future," she said.

Council members Jason Lacy and Scott Ford raised concerns about spending money to acquire a new city hall right now.

Ford noted the project wasn't being talked about until the newspaper building became available.

And Lacy said it might look bad for the city to be spending so much money at a time council members are sounding the alarm about the city's fiscal situation and considering asking voters for more tax revenue.

"I understand the council members who want to look at this are looking at the future, but at the same time, if our big goal is our fiscal sustainability issues, I think it's going to be hard for the public to swallow spending $11 million or more for a new fire station and city hall," Lacy said Thursday noting that a fire station is currently in the city's capital improvement plan at a cost of $8 million.

Lacy said he didn't think he would support going into an executive session to talk about the potential purchase of the newspaper building because of his concerns about the city's financial situation.

Cam Boyd, the listing agent for the newspaper building, said there was no longer any offer on the table for the property.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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