New county building to open in Rifle
Garfield County services in Rifle will experience some slight disruption throughout the month of May as employees currently scattered in several locations prepare to move into a new administration building in the heart of Rifle.
The three-story soon-to-be home for nearly a dozen county departments and offices — located across from the City Market parking lot — is near completion and within the $4.8 million budgeted amount, according to a county media release.
The opening of the building has been anticipated for sometime, said Commissioner Mike Samson, who is among the county personnel relocating to the office building.
Construction started in August 2015.
Speaking after a work session Tuesday in Glenwood Springs, Samson said the administration building will provide centralized services to residents in western Garfield County. Additionally, it will have a conference room where the commissioner said meetings, such as those for a committee analyzing the potential use of off-highway vehicles on county roads, can take place.
“It’s a great blessing,” Samson said.
The Rifle branch of the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, which is currently located in the Henry Building on east Third Street, will temporarily close May 9-13 as the staff transitions into its new space on the first floor of the administration building, officially located at Building D, 195 W. 14th St.
During that time, clerk and recorder services, such as license plate renewal, will continue to be available either online or in the Glenwood Springs office on the second floor of the Garfield County Courthouse at 109 Eighth St., Suite 200. The Rifle branch is expected to reopen in its new location May 16.
Construction fencing will remain around the building until then, and public access will be restricted as final preparations — including concrete, asphalt and landscaping — are completed on the grounds. The second and third floors of the building will not open to the public until after Memorial Day, according to the county.
Others will move into the administration building in phases, starting with the Colorado Child Welfare Training Center the week of May 16. Human services employees are expected to move in the following week, with staff in community development, public works, finance and communications expected to make the move in the last week of May.
The county recommends residents call individual departments to confirm the ideal location for conducting county business during the month of May. Factors such as weather delays and final construction, combined with the sheer size of the relocation, could impact the move, the county cautioned.
A full listing of phone numbers is available at garfield-county.com/administration/phone.aspx, and callers can reach a live operator by calling 970-945-1377.
Aside from the Henry Building, some of those employees have operated out of the Rifle Garfield County Airport. That space is being vacated to make room for future growth of the Colorado Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting.
The state selected the airport as the home of the Center of Excellence, which aspires to be a global leader in aerial wild-land firefighting research, in early 2015.
As for the future of the county-owned Henry Building, that has yet to be decided. Samson said the city of Rifle, private businesses and the Rifle Heritage Center, which operates the museum at the corner of east Fourth Street and East Avenue, have expressed interest. But so far nothing is concrete.
Commissioners are expected to consider the future of the Henry Building in the coming weeks, but Samson said personally he would like to either see some money generated from it, given the large investment in the new administration building, or a strong case that the future use would benefit the public.
“I would really want to look at the use and what the secondary benefit would be,” he said.
Samson also pointed to the increasingly sparse parking on east Third Street between Railroad Avenue and East Avenue as another factor that he will consider during discussions on the Henry Building.
Parking should not be an issue at the new administration building. The county budgeted $600,000 for a parking lot project on Howard Avenue, which runs behind the new administration building. Within the budgeted amount for the parking lot was $60,000 earmarked for sharing in the city of Rifle’s street improvement plan on Howard Avenue. That plan includes sidewalks and a crosswalk that will serve the administration building and the Garfield County Fairgrounds.
Commissioners executed the agreement with the city to share in that cost this past Monday.
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