Garfield County helps fund YouthZone building buy |

Garfield County helps fund YouthZone building buy

Staff report
The former Glenwood Springs Library building at 413 Ninth St. is now owned by YouthZone, but a capital campaign to pay off the loan continues.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

YouthZone has received a big boost from Garfield County with the pledge of a $250,000 matching grant to help fund the organization’s purchase of the former Glenwood Springs Library building for its new offices.

County commissioners recently agreed to the grant toward the nonprofit youth diversion and advocacy program’s capital campaign to cover the cost of purchasing the building at Ninth and Blake, which it acquired in March.

The grant is required to be matched by YouthZone.

“This is an important human services organization that helps youth and families,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said in a news release. “I would like us to make this donation, because it is important not only to Garfield County, but to all of our municipalities as well.”

“We think it’s the perfect location to service all of the youth we work with. The courthouse is downtown, and that’s where we are.”— Martha Robinson, YouthZone board member

YouthZone has been in operation for 41 years. It works with more than 1,000 youth annually in and around Garfield County.

The organization hopes to move into the new building, at 413 Ninth St., by August. Its current leased facility at the corner of Eighth and School Street is within Glenwood Springs’ confluence-area redevelopment planning area.

YouthZone had been under lease for decades with the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 for $1 a year. The city took over ownership of the property at the end of 2017 as part of a land swap, and notified YouthZone that it had to vacate the property by Dec. 31 of this year.

Lori Mueller, YouthZone executive director, told the commissioners that 25 to 30 percent of their clients are from the Rifle and Parachute area, while 30 to 35 percent are from Glenwood Springs, and 15 percent are from Pitkin County.

YouthZone closed on the library space for $900,000 in March, and is now in the process of remodeling the structure to meet its needs.

A temporary loan for the property was provided by a private donor to ensure YouthZone could purchase the building.

A building committee will oversee design and seek requests for proposals for the needed renovation work.

YouthZone had said that a central downtown location is essential for YouthZone’s needs, as it works closely with the courts system. The move also ensures a permanent home for the nonprofit.

“We think it’s the perfect location to service all of the youth we work with,” said YouthZone board member Martha Robinson. “The courthouse is downtown, and that’s where we are.”

The library building entails 9,000 square feet of space, and the nonprofit is looking to renovate 4,000 square feet for its operations. YouthZone is talking to other local nonprofits about potential uses for the remaining space.

YouthZone aims to raise $1.5 million through its capital campaign to cover construction costs, as well as the purchase price.

“There’s no hidden money there,” Robinson told the commissioners. “It’s all actual cost to make sure we’re covered for the next couple years until we get the [building paid off].”

With help from an endowment and donor support, YouthZone’s goal is to become a self-supporting nonprofit, allowing it to operate long into the future, she said.

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