YouthZone offers $900K for old Glenwood library | AspenTimes.com

YouthZone offers $900K for old Glenwood library

Ryan Summerlin
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

A walker passes by the abandonded old library building on Ninth Street and Blake Avenue. The old librar has sat empty for about four years, during which time a number of uses have been proposed for the space, including a senior center or a co-working space and business incubator.

YouthZone, a youth advocacy nonprofit that's been looking for a new building in Glenwood Springs, has a new offer on the table to buy the city's old library. Glenwood Springs City Council will consider the offer during its meeting tonight.

YouthZone is offering $900,000 for the building, according to a memo from the city attorney. That deal will include an initial payment of $100,000 for deposit, followed by a 30-day due diligence period. Closing would be expected by Feb. 23.

The nonprofit has long resided at its current building at 803 School St., but that property is part of a land-swap deal between the city and Roaring Fork School District and is part of the confluence area that the city plans to redevelop. Uncertainty about the timeline that YouthZone is working with in their current location has made its leaders anxious to secure a new space.

The old library, at Ninth Street and Blake Avenue, has sat empty for about four years, during which time a number of uses have been proposed for the space, including a senior center or a co-working space and business incubator.

At the end of last year, Ted Edmonds, a former YouthZone board member and former City Council member, had planned to purchase the building from the city for $1 million and possibly sell it to YouthZone.

Part of the deterrent in that deal was the $300,000 to $400,000 in renovations, repairs and safety work that Edmonds said the building needs. That includes mitigation work for radon and asbestos, as well as plumbing and other repairs that are necessary after the building has been unoccupied for years.

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Despite that deal falling through, YouthZone has kept its eye on the old library, as there have been no other workable properties on the horizon, as Marci Pattillo, YouthZone board chair, put it to county commissioners in December.

In past conversations about using the space, YouthZone board members have noted that the old library, at about 9,000 square feet, is twice as big as the nonprofit actually needs; the organization has been shopping around for another organization with whom they could partner up and share the building.

That included Garfield County, which had earlier been considering purchasing the building and setting up a senior center. Commissioners, however, didn't bite, though they assured YouthZone that they would contribute to a capital campaign.

Since that time, the city's Parks and Recreation Department has its own designs on the building as ancillary space for recreation and arts programs. Since some of that programming has outgrown its current space in the Glenwood Springs Community Center, the department has proposed using the old library, as well as the space formerly used by the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts on Sixth Street.

Brian Smith, parks and recreation director, has said that a building addition to the Community Center to accommodate those programs could cost three times as much as the city would make off the sale of the old library. So, moving those programs into the old library that the city already owns would be a better deal, he suggested to council at a recent work session.

Smith, however, was reluctant to suggest making space in the old library available for outside groups on a permanent basis, out of concerns over access and territorial issues arising from the shared building.