County sells Taughenbaugh building |

County sells Taughenbaugh building

A longtime government building in Rifle will soon leave government hands. Monday the Garfield County Commissioners agreed to sell the aging Taughenbaugh building for $373,500 to Briston Peterson, an Aspen developer. The selling price is about 90 percent of its appraised value.Peterson will turn the building’s office spaces into apartments, said county manager Ed Green.The multi-story wooden-sided building housed the Garfield County Department of Social Services and the public health office for many years. It has been vacant since September when the county opened its new human services building in Rifle.Constructed in 1979 and purchased by the county in 1983, it has had a history of safety issues. A few years ago problems with carbon monoxide forced the county to replace all the heaters and furnaces. In addition, with outside staircases and no elevator, it was not accessible to the handicapped, which is mandated by law for public buildings.”We were told by (the county insurance company) to build a new building” because it would not continue insurance coverage, Green said.”It’s just not a safe public building. It might be perfectly suitable for other uses, but it’s just not a good use for us,” Green said.Commissioner John Martin applauded the move to accept the offered price for the building.”If we could recover some of our funds that would be much better than having it empty,” he said.Commissioner Trési Houpt wondered if the building could be torn down and the land preserved for future county development. However, the expense would far outweigh its present value, Green said. He estimated the building itself was worth between $20,000 and $25,000 and the cost of demolishing it would be exponentially more.”I have a problem with selling the property,” Houpt said, “without the money being earmarked to buy other property because property is so expensive in the county.”Green pointed out that last year’s county budget earmarked the money to help cover the cost of the new human services building the county built in Rifle last year.”We could use it for other purposes,” Houpt countered. “We could use (the land) for affordable housing. Land is such a huge public asset, and it should never be disposed of lightly.”Both Martin and Commissioner Larry McCown disagreed that the purchase price should go to purchasing land.”It’s come to our attention that the building is a liability and a nuisance, and the money should go to the human services building,” Martin said.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext.

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