Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District eyes Rodeo Grounds as interim site |

Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District eyes Rodeo Grounds as interim site

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

As the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District gears up to demolish and redevelop its fire station, the district is eyeing the Rodeo Grounds as the site of its temporary home.

During a joint meeting with the Snowmass Town Council and Planning Commission on Monday, the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District presented conceptual ideas for its new station and also proposed that it relocate its operations to the Rodeo Grounds parcel, which the Town of Snowmass Village owns, during the 15- to 18-month interim.

While the proposed site presents its share of constraints, which the Snowmass fire district and town officials discussed, “There’s no perfect location,” Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection Fire Chief Scott Thompson said at the meeting.

The fire district investigated about 10 properties as potential interim sites, according to Thompson, and while the Rodeo Grounds isn’t perfect, it is the best, most cost-effective solution, he said.

For one, the Rodeo Grounds’ proximity to water and sanitary sewer lines means lower instillation costs on the interim facility.

The Rodeo Grounds also are relatively flat, Thompson said, which is another key selling point.

The temporary fire facility will include a 4,200-square-foot structure that resembles a tent, Thompson said, along with two modular mobile structures that will house an administrative office, conference room and crew quarters.

“I think the biggest thing we need to overcome is looking at a tent when we come into Brush Creek,” Thompson said. “Understanding it’s going to be a shock, that tent there.”

Other community members at the meeting offered their own qualms about the proposal.

Snowmass Town Councilman Tom Goode said his primary concern is the station’s distance from the center of town.

“Being down the road, you’re the furthest one away,” he said.

Goode inquired on how the interim location might affect the fire district’s response time, to which Thompson said that it would “slightly impact response into the village.”

The other glaring concern is figuring how to share the Rodeo Grounds with its other uses, including its home to the Snowmass Rodeo each week during the summer and as a day skier parking lot throughout the winter.

Thompson assured those at the meeting Monday that the fire district would “be the best neighbor that we can” and impact the rodeo as little as possible.

The organization that produces the Snowmass Rodeo, Snowmass Western Heritage Association, has an existing lease on the land with the town, according to Snowmass Town Attorney John Dresser.

For the interim fire facility to work, Dresser said, the town of Snowmass Village, the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District and the Snowmass Western Heritage Association must “come to a management plan to accommodate all the uses concurrently.”

At Monday’s meeting, Snowmass Western Heritage Association board member Gaines Norton expressed his willingness to work with the fire district pending that they resolve the issue of parking, which would be hampered by the fire facility, and reach a memorandum of understanding.