Pitkin County officials break ground on new building, park
Pitkin County officials broke ground Tuesday on both an addition to the county’s headquarters on Main Street and a redesign of Veterans Park next door.
Pitkin County Commissioner Rachel Richards thanked county staff, architects, contractors and veterans before she and other elected officials dug their shiny shovels into a mound of dirt opposite the Veterans Memorial.
“This is an amazing effort,” Commissioner Patti Clapper said earlier in the day after listening to a presentation about the new Veterans Park. “I think it’s going to be beautiful.”
Construction crews have already begun gutting the 17,000-square-foot county building at 530 E. Main St. in preparation for a complete renovation. The ground-breaking Tuesday was to celebrate the beginning of construction of a 24,000-square-foot addition that will be connected to the back of the original building.
The new L-shaped building will frame Veterans Park as sort of a courtyard between it and the historic Pitkin County Courthouse next door.
Prior to the ground-breaking, a county official and a landscape architect presented the plan for redesigning Veterans Park. That plan includes 77 permanent seats, dedicated wheelchair seating, new landscaping and a circular design with the memorial itself at the center. The memorial, considered consecrated ground, will not be moved during construction.
Pitkin County is still accepting comments about that design at http://www.pitkinconnect.com.
The new county building is slated to cost $24.6 million and will include an 8,000-square-foot underground parking garage. The building will house departments now located in the Courthouse, including the Sheriff’s and Assessor’s Offices as well as county development offices now located at Aspen City Hall.
The redesign of Veterans Park will cost an extra $200,000 to $300,000. The entire project is set to be completed around summer 2018.
A week and a half ago, Aspen police officials conducted a ground-breaking next door on their new 18,515 square foot, $20.9 million headquarters building.
Both construction projects are likely to disrupt Main Street traffic during the next year and a half.
Members of the valley’s Jewish community gathered at the Albright Pavilion at Aspen Meadows Thursday for their second annual menorah lighting ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge the first day of Hanukkah.