The Rifle Branch Library could be adding two new tenants later this year.
If plans are successful, the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce and Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. will occupy most of the currently vacant second floor of the library.
The space now is largely unfinished, and was set aside for nonprofit groups and future expansion, Chamber CEO Frank Ladd said at a Feb. 6 workshop with Rifle City Council. The move has yet to be approved by the chamber board, he added, but expected that to occur in the near future.
"I just want to assure you that we will still operate the visitor's information center" off I-70, where the chamber offices are now found, Ladd told the council.
"This will get us closer to the downtown and to City Hall, right next door," he added.
Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. President Michael Langhorne said his board has approved the move from a rented office in the Garfield County annex building, 136 E. Third St.
"It makes sense to co-locate with the chamber as a partner, since it gets the people who promote the area for economic development and for Rifle together," Langhorne said. "Once we get together, we feel we can work together for the benefit of both and the city."
The corporation is a nonprofit entity and does not receive any local government money.
The Garfield County Regional Library District, which runs the Rifle branch and others across the county, planned to seek grants from sources such as the county Federal Mineral Lease District, to make the space usable. Library district executive director Amelia Shelley said Tuesday there is about 3,500 square feet of unfinished space on the second floor.
"I was approached by the chamber when we started building this library, but they didn't have the funds at the time," Shelley added.
About a year and a half ago, Shelley said, she obtained an estimate of $200,000 to finish the second floor and make it usable. The library board has yet to approve the plan, she added, but is aware of the potential new tenants.
"We aren't in any rush to get this done, but we do like to help small businesses and the space was set aside for nonprofits," Shelley said.