Karl Herchenroeder

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March 26, 2014
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City of Aspen eyes new uses for old Mountain Rescue space

With Mountain Rescue Aspen planning to vacate its Main Street cabin late this summer, the city will consider selling the property, renovating it and/or making it available to other nonprofits.

Aspen’s Capital Asset Director Scott Miller expects to know the value of the property by the first week of May, when he will update the Aspen City Council on the status of at least 14 other properties the city is analyzing. His update fits into the council’s goal to develop a Municipal Facilities Master Plan, which is a long-term project that will consolidate city offices and operations.

Along with the 4,000-square-foot Main Street cabin, the city is weighing the uses and needs of City Hall, the Wheeler Opera House, the Yellow Brick Building, the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority offices, the Aspen Police Department, the Aspen Recreation Center, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s office, a vacant lot on the Zupansis property, the Old Power House, Parks Department offices on Cemetery Lane, the Aspen Golf Course building offices, the Rio Grande building, the Truscott space formerly occupied by the Red Roof Inn and various spaces leased by city departments.

Miller expects to update the council once a month throughout the summer, with the first visit coming April 8. The Old Power House, which has been courted by various entities including the Aspen Science Center, is also up for discussion at the April 8 council work session. By June, the city will begin formulating ideas for where all the pieces will fit.

“From May into mid-June, we’re going to start looking at, ‘What are some possible solutions?’” he said. “‘How do we move people around? Or where do we look at adding another floor onto a building or renovating a building or building a new building?’”

Mountain Rescue — a 50-member volunteer organization that has occupied the Main Street cabin since the 1960s — broke ground on its new $3 million facility near the Aspen Business Center in July. The new 13,900-square-foot headquarters more than triples Mountain Rescue’s current space, which features a garage and second-floor living space.

Miller said the city will begin looking at site and schematic alternatives, as well as construction-cost estimates, for the Main Street cabin this summer. City architects and engineers will assess the building based on size, use, structural and life-cycle analysis and property value.

The Wheeler Opera House was not included in the initial outline for the Municipal Facilities Master Plan. Wheeler directors requested inclusion because part of the study assesses each building’s current condition and a 20-year capital-repair plan. Miller said some of the Wheeler’s offices and common areas need to be updated, but he doesn’t anticipate any other city department sharing the space.

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The Aspen Times Updated Mar 26, 2014 11:02AM Published Mar 29, 2014 05:23PM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.