STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In its search for a place to build a larger fire station, Steamboat Springs City Council considered a new option and axed an unpopular one during its Tuesday meeting.
Since the spring, an ad hoc committee, headed by Steamboat Deputy Fire Chief Chuck Cerasoli, has been evaluating potential locations to build the new station.
The committee’s most recent recommendation, which council members favored at the meeting, would renovate and enlarge the current Mountain Fire Station, at 2600 Pine Grove Road on the east end of Steamboat. That option also would require the construction of a smaller satellite station somewhere downtown, though an exact location has not been determined.
The committee devised this newest option after council members and associates at OZ Architecture, a consulting firm on the project, voiced skepticism over the previous three options.
Those locations include:
- The parking lot of the Stockbridge Transit Center at 1505 Lincoln Ave.
- The current location of city offices, plus a parking lot at 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue
- The current fire station at 840 Yampa St.
“Every option just seemed to be awful,” council member Lisel Petis said of the three locations.
Most of her concerns, shared among other council members, centered around traffic and parking issues, particularly with frequent congestion downtown. They decided to abandon the Stockbridge location, the most unpopular option, unless the other locations prove unfeasible.
“There is a lot going on there that causes a lot of potential conflicts that the fire department can’t control,” Eric Becker, an associate with OZ Architecture, told City Council about the Stockbridge lot.
Renovating the current fire station at 840 Yampa St. also was an unpopular option. Council members Robin Crossan and Jason Lacy favored vacating and selling that property instead.
That left the location at 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue, which would combine certain city offices with the fire station, and the new mountain station option.
Becker broke down the costs of developing those locations. According to him, building a new station at the building that currently houses City Hall would cost about $22.3 million to $22.8 million, depending on the design of the project.
Renovating the mountain station would cost about $12.2 million, according to rough estimates from Becker and Cerasoli. It would cost an additional $7.5 million to $8.7 million to construct a satellite station, according to those estimates.
The only two residents who spoke during public comment sided with this latter option. They said keeping the station out of the downtown area would cause less traffic obstacles and keep more space open for potential businesses to enhance the community.
Cerasoli, in his presentation to City Council, added that the area around the mountain station receives a high number of calls for service, predominantly during the winter when people get injured at nearby Steamboat Resort.
Council members directed Cerasoli and his committee to pursue this newest option but did not want to finalize a location until more site analyses have been completed.
As Petis concluded, “It’s not perfect, but it’s by far the best option I’ve seen yet.”