Rifle planning new City Hall for the future
While a new City Hall has been discussed in Rifle for years, it wasn’t until last June that the idea of pairing the new building with affordable housing was put into motion.
For the first time on Tuesday, Rifle officials and interested citizens packed the community room at the Rifle Branch Library to hear about the bold proposal for the new Rifle City Hall.
With more than enough space for the various city departments at the current City Hall location, the plan is to tear down the existing structure and build a new four-story building. The upper levels will be used for affordable housing, with the city departments consolidated in the lower level.
“We have been trying to figure out what to do with City Hall since before I’ve been here. This helps us pay for it,” Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist explained.
Among the problems with the current building is the heating-and-cooling (HVAC) system, which Lindquist said is obsolete beyond repair. To fix it, “we’d have to gut the building,” he said.
The layout of Rifle City Hall could also use some work.
“It’s difficult for the public and staff to use the building,” Lindquist explained. “There’s a lot of dysfunction in the space, and I think it really affects our productivity. We are all in these little pods.”
Anybody who has ever tried to find Rifle’s Planning Department may have seen the dysfunction firsthand, as it is hidden away on the lower level and sits completely apart from other city departments.
Lindquist believes this new setup would not only fix the building’s HVAC system and create much better security for the government building, but would lead to better collaboration between the various departments, as well.
Architects and developers involved with the project helped to answer any questions that residents had on Tuesday. Lindquist said he was very pleased with the turnout.
He said his big takeaway was to make sure the proposed four-story building fits with the rest of downtown Rifle.
“I understand people feel strongly about the ambiance of downtown, and we want people to care about that,” he said. “I understand if people have concerns,” Lindquist told the crowd as he began. “There’s nothing else like this in Colorado, and I think a lot of people around the state will be watching this project to see how it goes. We want to hear what you like and don’t like.”
He hopes to form a public-private partnership in order to help boost the project, as he thinks pairing affordable housing with a new City Hall will save the city a ton on construction and opens the project up to better grant opportunities.
Lindquist said an overview of the plan will be presented to Rifle City Council during its scheduled meeting on March 7, where he will go over the details for anybody who wants more information. At the following City Council meeting on March 21, Lindquist will present a proposed budget with the numbers ready for council to consider.
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Colorado Department of Transportation have embarked on a months-long project to stabilize and repair Highway 325 north of Rifle Gap after the embankment above East Rifle Creek failed, causing a section of the northbound lane to collapse on July 12.