Friday, October 18, 2019

Emergency services may shift locations in the valley

Fire department shifts to annexation while marshals move downtown

By Mark Reaman

The kernel of an idea to shift base locations of emergency services personnel in Crested Butte is beginning to sprout. The Crested Butte Fire Protection District and Crested Butte Search and Rescue would relocate to a new building in the Cypress Foothills Slate River annexation off of Gothic Road. The Crested Butte Marshal’s Office would then move into the current fire station at Third and Maroon after a renovation.

Crested Butte chief marshal Mike Reily updated the Town Council on the idea at the November 19 council meeting. He reported that an analysis by D2C Architects shows that the move would work in terms of space. The 100-page, $14,500 report that was paid for by the town and CBFPD gave several options for design and scale of the new and renovated buildings. The bottom line is that the report indicated the project was feasible.

Reily said a new fire and EMS headquarters would cost between $8.6 million and $11.6 million. Renovating the current Marshal’s Office would cost between $2.5 million and $4.1 million. Renovating and expanding the current CBFPD Station One to be used by the marshals would cost between $2.6 million and $4.2 million.

“The gist of the project is that Station One is not big enough. The marshals are also outgrowing the current space,” explained Reily. “The public works yard is full and there is opportunity with a parcel of land in the annexation to put a building out there.”

Reily said if the project continued to move forward, the expectation is that the annexation would be completed in early 2019. A Memorandum of Understanding would be drawn up between the town, the CBFPD and Crested Butte Search and Rescue. The intention of that document is to detail how the parties would work together and transfer the land while giving the CBFPD and CBSAR certainty moving forward. Reily outlined a plan where the fire district would begin fundraising and possibly ask for a ballot issue to fund the project in November 2019. If approved, the new headquarter construction would begin in 2020 or 2021. The renovation of Station One would possibly take place in 2022.

“The report shows that in a basic analysis if we want to move forward we can move forward,” Reily informed the council.

The top floor of the current fire building, known as the Pump Room, would remain public space overseen by the town.

Mayor Jim Schmidt asked if the rest of town staff was comfortable with the idea, given how much demand there is for public space.

Town manager Dara MacDonald said that while there are indeed a lot of demands for public space, “We understand the need for public safety and to tackle the long-term demands of the Marshal’s Office.”

Town community development director Michael Yerman told the council that a small renovation that tightened up the bays in the fire building would be ideal for town law enforcement needs. “We would be keeping the top floor for the public and when the marshals vacate where they are now, that space would become available for whatever purpose,” he said.

CBFPD district manager Sean Caffrey said the current building was getting tight as the fire and EMS department expanded, so a new building would be beneficial. He said the new location would be great so that their large trucks and ambulances didn’t have to navigate town traffic and pedestrians when responding to a call.

Reily said having the marshals located more centrally to downtown Crested Butte would be more convenient for his officers as well.

Reily said no firm building design is being considered except to determine space needs. Plans would have to go through the BOZAR review process.

The council appeared generally in favor of continuing to pursue the plan and will help draft an MOU detailing the shift for the three parties to consider in early 2019.

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