Carbondale gets analysis of Thompson House costs |

Carbondale gets analysis of Thompson House costs

CARBONDALE, Colorado – Operating the historic Thompson Ranch House as a public facility would cost about $24,000 per year for seasonal use during the warmer months, or $56,370 for year-round use.

That’s according to a use and structure assessment prepared by Suzannah Reid of Reid Architects for the town of Carbondale to consider as it continues to weigh the Thompson Park annexation and zoning request.

The Carbondale Board of Trustees continues its public hearing tonight on an application by Aspen real estate developer Frieda Wallison to annex 10.2 acres of what’s now a small section of unincorporated Garfield County, known as the “county island.”

The annexation area involves three separate parcels, situated along Highway 133 just north of River Valley Ranch. The proposal also calls for rezoning the site to accommodate between 45 and 85 residential units.

A key provision of the proposal would be the dedication of the historic turn-of-the-20th-century Thompson house to the town for a museum. The dedication, which would include the surrounding grounds, is intended to satisfy part or all of the applicant’s open space requirements.

The use and structure assessment also identifies $61,848 in initial upgrades to the house, and another $119,000 or so over the longer term, depending on the level of public use.

“There are no critical deficiencies with the existing building or its systems,” Reid’s report states.

Wallison has suggested establishing a real estate transfer assessment on home sales in the Thompson Park development to help cover maintenance costs. Another means of paying for ongoing operating costs would likely need to be identified if the town accepts the offer.

“The success of this endeavor will depend on commitment, partnerships and imagination,” Reid concludes in her report. “Resources are available in the form of grants both for the building and for its future programs. A partnership between the town and the Mt. Sopris Historical Society seems to be an appropriate step toward creating a unique historic experience for the community and its visitors.”

The historical society has already agreed to take ownership of the contents of the house if the deal is approved.

Her assessment also covers the historical value and significance of the house, and touches on a variety of potential uses, from small tours to more intensive uses such as a bed and breakfast. The possibility of leasing it to a private third party to operate is also covered.

“The house is made more rare and important because the house and contents are intact in the form in which the original owners created it,” Reid writes in her assessment.

“There is no doubt that the Thompson Ranch House is a historically significant building and of value to the community,” she also concludes. “It is equal in significance to the Redstone Castle … something that is worth remembering ourselves and passing on to future generations.”

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