Cheyenne Council Rejects RFP for New Municipal Court Site
The proposal called for spending $275,000 on the Carey Building, demolishing the long-blighted structure and building a new courthouse on the site.
"This building is a health and safety tragedy waiting to happen," said Councilman Jeff White. "There's no private person that's going to come in and spend the type of money that's going to be needed to take care of this."
"The longer it sits there the more safety hazard it becomes until it's just going to collapse on top of itself," White added. "Then we have another 'hole.'"
But Councilman Pete Laybourn disagreed, urging the council to "look back on what was on the (sixth-penny) ballot" in May.
"We need to look at our responsibility to that $9 million," said Laybourn. "This isn't something we need to rush into, the court's here."
"This is not the magic wand that's going to turn us into Fort Collins," added Laybourn. "This is drafting a problem with a problem property owner onto a ballot issue that the voters approved for the purpose of a municipal court, not downtown redevelopment."
Because the council voted down the proposal, Mayor Marian Orr says "everything's back on the table," including possibly building just north of the Municipal Building, an idea that has numerous St. Mary's Catholic School parents concerned.
"My greatest role is the safety of the children," said Pat Lane, St. Mary's Principal. "The traffic really scares me, so please don't ever consider putting the courthouse next to my playground."
"I certainly understand traffic concerns, those are always an issue when kids are out and about," said Councilman Dicky Shanor. "But we may be left with no choice but to extend at 2101 O'Neil."
"As councilman Laybourn stated, we have conducted renovations on this facility (that have) likely triggered an ADA responsibility on the city to bring the rest of this building up to code," Shanor added. "We may very well have to use that $9 million to build a courthouse here and upgrade this facility."
In addition to Laybourn and Shanor, councilmen Rocky Case, Richard Johnson and Dr. Mark Rinne also voted against the proposal. Councilman Bryan Cook was absent from the meeting.