Garfield County considers another building in Glenwood
September 1, 2008
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Garfield County is looking to build a new $8.5 million facility in downtown Glenwood Springs next to the county’s jail and administration building.
Garfield County Manager Ed Green said officials will propose setting aside several million dollars in the county’s 2009 budget for the construction of the new facility.
It would be built to house the county assessor, clerk and recorder and treasurer’s offices. The new building may also take in the county commissioners’ offices and chambers, Green said.
The purpose of the new building is to secure the Garfield County Courthouse – where those assessor, treasure and clerk and recorder offices are currently located – strictly for court functions, Green said.
Any money directed for the project would have to be approved by the Garfield County commissioners, Green said.
The land for the project would be west of Garfield County’s current administration building. In June, the county bought two homes just south of the county’s current parking lot for the building.
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Green said constructors would “sort of cantilever” the building over a portion of the existing parking lot. The current size estimate for the new building is about 30,000 square feet, Green said.
The county outlined a plan to secure land for the new building in its five-year plan, which summarizes the goals and plans for each county department. The county allotted about $1.4 million for the parcels, according to the five-year plan, but purchased the two homes for less than $1 million, Green said.
If commissioners were to approve funding for the new building, the county’s elected officials could meet in January to talk about what they may need for the facility, Green said.
As of yet, there hasn’t been any discussion between the county and the city about the proposed project, said Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen. He outlined several concerns with the county’s proposal and listed parking as a significant one.
“Parking is in extremely short supply (in downtown),” he said.
Christensen said another concern he had was that the proposed building would be another governmental structure in an area that the city is looking to redevelop for more housing, retail and commercial development opportunities.
“There is always concern, from my standpoint, about the institutional uses of downtown,” he said of city. “We have such a constraint on the available amount of land in downtown Glenwood that we when put that land into institutional use, (it) prevents some of the expansion of commercial and retail opportunities that could provide more of vital downtown entity.”
However, Christensen said many people, including himself, have been put off by the metal detectors at the county courthouse when “they just want to pay their taxes.”
“I do appreciate the fact that the county is looking at relocating those sort of civic and business functions somewhere where they wouldn’t be requiring that kind of security,” he said.
Christensen said the city welcomes the opportunity to talk with the county about some of the concerns Glenwood Springs officials might have about their plans for the new building.
“I am sure there are solutions, and we look forward to working with the county,” he said.