Officials look to narrow scope of City Hall upgrade | AspenTimes.com

Officials look to narrow scope of City Hall upgrade

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

Officials are seeking public input on an estimated $37 million project that could involve a two-story addition to City Hall as well as the construction of a 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot building near Courthouse Plaza.

In a comprehensive space-needs study of city departments, officials have identified a shortfall of about 50,000 square feet in downtown-core operations. In August, the Aspen City Council majority gave initial support for the City Hall renovation, though a second option, which forgoes the City Hall addition in favor of a new 63,000-square-foot building near the courthouse, remains available.

Councilwoman Ann Mullins supported the second option, arguing that it would be difficult to add an addition and retain integrity of City Hall. Mayor Steve Skadron said he was not in favor of building a 60,000-square-foot "monument," while Councilmen Dwayne Romero and Adam Frisch voiced support for the first option. Frisch said he thinks a "humble, organic" addition is possible at City Hall.

During two open houses on Nov. 13 and 14, the public will have the chance to offer input on blocking diagrams and schematic drawings for the project. Capital asset project manager Jack Wheeler is expected to return to the council Nov. 17 with an update.

Both plans call for a new structure at the Zupancis property, a small parcel of land next to the county's Courthouse Plaza building on Main Street. The Aspen Police Department, which is expected to vacate its Pitkin County space on Main Street by early 2018, would occupy about 15,000 square feet of any new structure.

In Option 1, the blocking diagrams show the Police Department, the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority, Capital Assets, Special Events and Transportation all occupying the new Zupancis space. The City Hall addition would maintain current operations while adding space for the offices of Community Development, Engineering and city manager.

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"So it's consolidation of some of the departments that are currently in there as well as new departments (Engineering) going in for organizational affinities as well as using our current real estate assets as well as we can," Wheeler said Wednesday, adding that the open house presentation is only preliminary.

The Housing Authority currently occupies temporary space on Hyman Avenue, police operations are scattered throughout town, Special Events and Transportation are in the Yellow Brick Building, and Capital Assets is in the Rio Grande Building.

Option 1 also would allow the Parking Department to move from its current space on the Zupancis lot into the Rio Grande Building, while the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and Stay Aspen Snowmass would maintain operations in the Galena Plaza Building.

herk@aspentimes.com

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