New police station headlines Steamboat Springs’ capital improvement plan | SteamboatToday.com

New police station headlines Steamboat Springs’ capital improvement plan

Police Sgt. John McCartin works at the Steamboat Springs Police Department headquarters on Yampa Street. The city of Steamboat is waiting to see if the police station will be a goal of the city council before presenting a list of viable building locations.

— A new police station is the biggest project included in the first draft of Steamboat Springs’ six-year capital improvement plan.

The plan, which was presented to the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday night, indicates that the city wants to start construction on the new facility next year at an estimated cost of $8.9 million.

A new fire station would be constructed in 2017.

Addressing a concern from a few council members about the rising price tag of the police project, Public Safety Director Joel Rae said the estimated cost of constructing a building that adheres to the city’s essential building code has driven up the costs a bit.

He said the cost estimate is based on the construction of an 18,000-square-foot police headquarters.

The figure includes 6,000 square feet of garage and warehouse space.

"This is very attainable for $8.9 million, and we’ll try to shave that (cost) down even more," Rae said.

He said the city plans to return to council in September with site plans for the building.

Council President Bart Kounovsky cautioned city staff that they will have to ensure the price tag doesn’t go beyond the estimated cost of the project.

"There will be no creep in the number we end up with," Kounovsky said. "You’re really going to have to show me on the number."

He added he hopes the project stays in the budget and is approved by the council in the fast-approaching budget season.

The city for more than a year has been planning for a new police headquarters. But the process essentially was reset in February when a plan to sell Steamboat’s current emergency services building on Yampa Street to a triumvirate of outdoor retailers was scrapped.

City officials said the current headquarters is cramped and insufficient.

The cost of a new station would be covered by the city’s reserves.

In addition to the new police station, the city’s capital improvement plan includes projects such as the establishment of a new entrance to Emerald Park that would bypass the residences on Pamela Lane and improvements to the intersection of Pine Grove Road and U.S. Highway 40.

To pay for the projects and accommodate the new police station in the budget, the city is proposing the transfer of $10.7 million in its unassigned reserves to the capital improvement program.

A transfer of $1 million from the city’s general fund also would be required annually to complete the projects.

The council will weigh the capital improvement plan at budget hearings in the fall.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com