Routt County Commissioners react favorably to city’s latest cop shop proposal | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County Commissioners react favorably to city’s latest cop shop proposal

Hope remains for shared law enforcement facility

Steamboat Springs City Hall

— The on again/off again flirtation between the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County Board of Commissioners over the possibility of sharing a new law enforcement campus is on again, and it looks as if the happy couple may be planning to cohabit after all.

Earlier this month, city officials were preparing to study the option of using the 10th Street parking lot to build a combined city hall and police station, which was among four remaining options on the table. The county's site was also among those options, but the odds seemed long.

However, when Council President Walter Magill and Councilman Scott Ford came calling at the courthouse the morning of May 10, they received a positive reception.

Magill told the BOC that City Council wanted to know if the county would give it a favorable price on the undeveloped portion of the Routt County Sheriff's Office location, and County Commissioner Cari Hermacinski was ready with a proposal.

"We're here to ask you to consider that 51 percent of Routt County residents are residents of Steamboat Springs," and tell us what you think the value of the land is, Magill said.

Hermacinski didn't have a precise answer to that question, but instead, came back with an action plan.

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"I hear what you say about us giving you a break on land," she said. "What we would propose is, let's engage an appraiser, and whatever it's worth, we'd commit to taking those funds and re-investing them in a shared facility."

Commissioner Tim Corrigan added that the county has new expectations that it could participate financially in the construction of the building sooner than it had thought earlier this year. At that time, the BOC advised the city that its long-term plan was to gradually add to accommodate the space needs of the sheriff's office, rather than taking on construction of a new building all at once. But that outlook has changed.

"We think there's a way to build a shared facility, and we could still do it incrementally," Corrigan said. "We see a path forward where, if you guys build a 20,000-square-foot building (for example) and lock off 5,000 square feet for the county, we could contribute to construction."

Hermacinski added that, by 2018, when the city is prepared to begin construction, the commissioners think they could contribute $1 million (beyond land sale proceeds) toward construction to cover the county's unfinished portion of the building.

In the meantime, the county would proceed with plans in 2017 to develop training and workout facilities sufficient to meet the needs of both sheriff's and police personnel in 3,000 square feet within the nearby justice center.

Clearly optimistic, Magill responded, "That was the best meeting we ever had that wasn't a meeting."

Hermacinski promised to provide a written summary of the county's position in time for the May 10 council meeting.

In it, she wrote, "We believe that the citizens of Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs will be better served for many decades to come if our agencies are collocated on the same campus."

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


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