A vacant lot at Rifle's main entrance looks to be anything but unused next year, after city council approved a three-year lease of the former Sno-White Linen property at their Dec. 19 meeting.
The recently begun Rifle Main Street program plans to hold downtown not-for-profit special events throughout the year at the site, 139 Railroad Ave.
Assistant City Manager Matt Sturgeon said the lease would be for $1 a year and the city would indemnify the owner from liability.
"It's a very high profile piece of property that could really be put to some great uses," he said.
The Rifle Main Street program is a partnership effort by the city and the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. to revitalize the downtown core.
Main Street Coordinator Dana Ingram said among the events she would like to arrange for the site are the chamber of commerce's hunter's tent, the farmers market held last year at Centennial Park and the Boy Scouts Christmas Tree sales lot now held in the Eagle Springs Crossing Shopping Center, formerly Columbine Market.
"I think we can really draw some positive attention to the downtown area, since that's the view you get at the city's main entrance," Ingram said.
Other possible uses are car shows and sporting expos tied in with Timberline Sports, which recently relocated to Second Street, across from the site.
Sturgeon said in a memo to the council that along with short-term benefits to the downtown core from such events, the lease should also call attention to the site's development opportunities.
Sturgeon said the city will use its construction crew to clean up and grade the site, make modest improvements such as landscaping and temporary structures, and possibly to install irrigation.
The lease runs from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2015. It would terminate after the approval of a site plan, building permit, or other land use of the site, Sturgeon noted.
"I like the idea of this location for these community events," said Councilman Randy Winkler. "Showing some kind of growth there is a great idea, too."