Wyly picked as tenant for old Basalt library | AspenTimes.com

Wyly picked as tenant for old Basalt library

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – The Wyly Community Arts Center is finally gaining the high-visibility home it has been seeking since its founding 14 years ago.

The town of Basalt selected the Wyly as the nonprofit organization that can lease the old, vacated library in Lions Park. The arts center spent nine years in Woody Creek at the Community School campus and nearly five years renting free-market space in a somewhat obscure spot at 255 Gold Rivers Court in Basalt. Staff and members of the organization’s board of directors believe moving to the old library will add to its already strong bond with the community.

“We’re almost beside ourselves that it’s finally going to happen,” Wyly board treasurer Rich Carr said at a recent meeting with Basalt officials.

The town owns the building, which became vacant in January when the new library was opened beside the post office. Town Hall plans to use roughly half of the 3,800-square-foot old library for relocation of its planning department. Wyly officials approached the town last year about renting the remaining space, but the Town Council said it had to open the availability to any nonprofit connected to the community.

Colorado Mountain College was the only other organization to apply to lease the space. The community college withdrew and deferred to the Wyly in the spirit of community collaboration. The Town Council endorsed Wyly for the lease Jan. 22. Town staff will now negotiate terms. Town documents indicate the space will be available at least through 2012. The lease amount hasn’t been established yet, although officials have said it will be below-market rent.

Wyly will get 1,450 square feet where it can stage classes, lectures and special events. A 240-square-foot space will be available for a receptionist and the Wyly Art Mart, a shop where art items can be purchased, according to their application.

“The location is important to us because it is centrally located in town and is close to the schools so that children can attend classes at the Wyly directly after school,” the nonprofit’s application says. “Having our next home be visible to the public, as well as having access to an attractive outdoor space, is essential to expanding our programming and providing more diverse events to the public.”

Wyly Program Director Debra Jones said extensive remodeling will be undertaken in the space. The speed of that work will determine how soon the arts center relocates.

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