Historic Emma store gets another week | AspenTimes.com

Historic Emma store gets another week

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Coloardo
Paul Conrad The Aspen Times

EMMA ” The fate of the historic Emma store just keeps changing.

After threatening a Wednesday demolition deadline to raze the red-brick store sitting on his property along Highway 82 in Emma, owner Owen Minney agreed to meet with Pitkin County commissioners at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 11, to talk about saving the buildings.

“I would hate to see us suggest solutions to Owen,” Commissioner Michael Owsley said of the proposed meeting. “I don’t think we need to solve Owen’s dilemma.”

In previous meetings, Minney discussed his options with the county board, but never returned with a development application, Owsley said.

In Tuesday’s planned meeting, the board should simply express its support for saving historic structures, Owsley said, but the county staff shouldn’t suggest potential solutions nor lead Minney down a certain path or make promises.

In a letter to the board, Minney claimed he had brought a handful of proposals to county officials to preserve the historic buildings. But Lance Clarke, Pitkin County’s assistant director for community development, said Minney had only floated two development applications in Pitkin County. Owsley and other board members asked for more background on the issue to have the facts straight in preparation for Tuesday’s discussion.

“I don’t want to get into the situation where he forces us to save his buildings,” Owsley said. “It’s his buildings, it’s his responsibility, it’s his creativity that’s going to save those buildings.”

Commissioner Rachel Richards agreed with Owsley that Minney’s stance was a situation of “do this or I’ll shoot the puppy dog,” but Richards believes the county can do something and should come up with a solution on behalf of the people who want to see the buildings preserved.

Owsley said that it’s most important that all sides come to Tuesday’s meeting with an open mind. Without any designated historic funding and limited money in the county’s general fund, however, county officials have few options, Owsley said.