Glenwood Springs agrees to sell old library to YouthZone
The city of Glenwood Springs has agreed to sell the former library building to YouthZone, clearing the way for the youth advocacy organization to secure a permanent home in the downtown core.
City Council members voted 3-2 at their Thursday meeting to accept the $900,000 offer from the nonprofit organization. The deal calls for a $100,000 deposit. Closing is scheduled for later this month.
“We’re thrilled, and we knew we needed to find a new home,” said Marci Pattillo, who chairs the YouthZone board of directors. “This is the perfect location, because we wanted to be downtown and close to the courts and all the services that we use.
“We couldn’t have found a better property,” she said.
YouthZone for many years has resided at 803 School St., across Eighth Street from City Hall. But that property is part of a land swap deal between the city and the Roaring Fork School District and is part of the confluence area the city plans to redevelop.
Uncertainty about the timeline for YouthZone to vacate its current building prompted its leaders to seek out a new, permanent home.
The old library, at Ninth Street and Blake Avenue, has sat empty for about four years. Several uses have been proposed for the space, including a senior center or a co-working space and business incubator.
Most recently, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department had proposed, if the city wasn’t going to sell it, to operate some recreation programs as well as new arts programming out of the building.
Last year, Ted Edmonds, a former YouthZone board member and former city council member, had planned to purchase the building from the city for $1 million with the idea of selling it to YouthZone. Edmonds pulled the offer after running into some $300,000 to $400,000 in necessary repairs and renovations.
Pattillo said YouthZone will launch a major capital campaign in the spring to cover the cost of the building purchase and make those renovations.
“It will need to be a big effort on a lot of people’s parts, and hopefully the library will be our new home,” she said. “Our intention is to move forward at a rather fast pace.”
City Council was not unanimous in voting to give up the building, even though the city has struggled to find a good use for it.
“YouthZone does great things in this community, and they are lucky to be in a position to do this,” Councilor Rick Voorhees said. “But it’s a valuable piece of property that could be used for a variety of things.”
As a business decision, he said he couldn’t support selling a building for $900,000 when it could cost three times that amount to build comparable space.
“I just think there could be some greater, better uses for a valuable piece of city-owned property right downtown,” Voorhees said.
Councilor Steve Davis joined Voorhees in voting against the deal.
YouthZone has indicated previously that the former library, at about 9,000 square feet, may be more space than it would need for its own purposes. It could seek out another organization to share the space.
“All of that is open to discussions,” Pattillo said. “The board has some ideas, but nothing has been solidified and there are a lot of moving parts.”
YouthZone will likely move to a month-to-month lease for its current location. City Council, in accepting the offer for the library building, asked that the School Street location be vacated in six months, if possible.