Letter: Input needed on city buildings | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Input needed on city buildings

Input needed on city buildings

The city of Aspen is faced with a specific and immediate problem. We are losing our leases on many facilities that house public services, including the Police, Building, City Manager, Engineering, Water and Environmental Health departments. The Housing Department already moved due to a lost lease and is now located in a temporary space. This dilemma impacts all residents, as these departments offer services you rely on. After several public meetings and community open houses, the City Council has determined that the most fiscally responsible option is to move forward with owned rather than leased space built on city-owned real estate. Opportunities currently exist to offer better customer service, build code-compliant spaces (City Hall is not up to current code) and create improved public meeting and gathering space. There are no plans to increase city office size, but there are plans to update and modernize our facilities. A new Police Department will incorporate fundamentally required facilities such as interview rooms, evidence-processing rooms and storage space. Right now, the City Council has advanced two ideas from an original group of five to the conceptual design phase.

Option 1 is a remodel and expansion of the Armory Building (current City Hall). The Police Department would be relocated to a new building on city-owned land at 540 Main St. Some portion of city services also would be located at 540 Main St. as part of the new police building.

Option 4 examines relocating all city services to one facility at the Galena Plaza site and constructing a new building on the northern edge of the Rio Grande Parking Garage and renovating the Rio Grande Building into a more efficient structure. The Police Department would be located at the 540 Main St. site.

The next steps include:

• Zoning to include all of the sites in the Public Zone District for public use to accommodate either of these options.

• Continuing public outreach, offering a high level of opportunity for resident input on community needs and the character of the project.

• Refining architectural and site-concept design for the proposed locations to show the site-utilization concepts and highlight the program at the site.

The city of Aspen is hosting a series of community open houses throughout the project, and we rely heavily on your input. This is our shared future. You can learn more at http://www.aspenpitkin.com. Click on “Civic Space Replacement.”

Jack Wheeler

Capital asset manager, city of Aspen


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