Building steady but slow in Silt and New Castle |

Building steady but slow in Silt and New Castle

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

Building activity remains steady but slow in Silt and New Castle, although at least one official is hopeful that things are looking up.

The number of building permits issued by the towns remains low as the recession drags into its fifth year.

But New Castle Mayor Frank Breslin said, “I’m more optimistic than I’ve been for two years.”

“What I’m seeing more than anything is an increase in consumer confidence. Everything points to improvement, at least in the local economy,” Breslin said.

In Silt, town planner Janet Aluise said the town already has issued five building permits this year for:

• Construction of a new 7,600-square-foot library next to Town Hall

• Remodeling the basement of an existing home

• Building a new Dollar General store on Main Street

• Construction of a duplex being built by Habitat for Humanity. The project warrants two permits, Aluise said, so the property owners can pull a certificate of occupancy if one side of the duplex is finished earlier than the other.

In 2011, Aluise said, the town also issued five residential building permits, although they were for homes that are just now being built. She said the town also issued a double permit for a Habitat for Humanity duplex in 2011.

Five building permits also were issued by Silt for 2010, all for single family homes, and two single-family home permits were issued in 2009, Aluise reported.

“We were used to at least 40 units a year,” Aluise said of the era prior to the recession, “and in a good year we might have 100. This year, five is good.”

New Castle Town Clerk Melody Harrison said the town is processing only two building permits at this point in 2012 – one for the installation of solar power generating equipment on a rooftop, and the other for insulation of an older home.

In previous years, though, Harrison said the town processed dozens of building permits per year.

She said 53 building permits were issued in 2009, nine for commercial projects and 44 for residential development.

In 2010, Harrison reported, the number of permits grew by one, to 54. Of those, five were for commercial buildings, and 49 were residential in nature.

Last year, Harrison reported, the number of building permits came close to doubling, to 91. Of those 2011 building permits, she said, only six were for commercial construction, while 85 were for residences.

And while that might seem a sign of economic improvement, Breslin said the town council is considering several ways to boost the economy further.

Among those ideas, he said, were discussions last year with the operators of the Yule Marble Quarry about building a mill in New Castle to do the finishing work on certain types of marble pieces. The quarry has no mill in Marble, Breslin added.

“We didn’t have enough land for them,” Breslin said. The quarry managers ended up with a site in the North Fork Valley.

But an outgrowth of those talks, Breslin said, is a debate about creation of a campus of business, industrial and commercial users that could attract outside investment.

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