Dolores City Council Approves Preliminary Town Hall Move Plan – The Journal
City bids for office building on Central Avenue for administration, council chambers and sheriff’s office
The Dolores board approved a preliminary plan at a special meeting Monday to purchase a building and relocate City Hall to Central Avenue.
The current town hall would be demolished and the land would become part of Parc des Flandres.
Dolores City Manager Ken Charles said a building audit and a recent budget meeting showed the current City Hall needed about $350,000 in repairs and upgrades, including $94,000 in short-term repairs.
He said an opportunity presented itself when city officials learned that a vacant, updated office building at 601 Central Ave. was on the market for $379,000. City staff visited the site and liked the building.
“We are about to have to undertake many repairs on our town hall built in the mid-1950s. It is at the end of its useful life and was never intended for offices,” said Charles. “Why start spending all this when this option puts us in a more modern facility that is well suited to current and future needs? »
The City Hall building was originally built for the sheriff’s office and jail, and it housed the fire department and library.
The new building on Central Avenue was constructed in 1960 and extensively renovated by Southwest Health System in 2017 for a medical clinic and medical offices.
SHS dropped the plan during a time of financial difficulty, and it has remained vacant ever since.
The building sold for $295,000 in 2017 and $274,000 in 2019, according to the Montezuma County Assessor’s Office. It is owned by Montezuma Realty Group LLC.
The Dolores City Council held an executive session Aug. 22 to hear more about the potential deal. A special public meeting was held on August 29 to hear additional details and vote on the matter.
The board of directors unanimously approved two resolutions on Monday. One authorizes the city to enter into a contract to purchase the property, and the other approves a grant application to help fund the purchase and demolition cost of the current hall.
The plan is dependent on accepting a bid for the building and successful grant applications to fund half of the cost.
According to a project budget, the total cost would be $623,514, including $379,000 for the building, $129,000 for the renovation, $75,000 for the demolition of the town hall, $35,000 for contingencies on renovation and demolition and $5,000 in legal and closing costs.
Grant applications would be submitted to the Department of Local Affairs to cover $311,757, or half the cost of the project.
Municipal services from the current City Hall, including the Sheriff’s Office, would move to the new building, which sits around the corner. The solar panels would be moved to the top of the new building.
The new location is 4,500 square feet, less than the current City Hall at 5,500 square feet. But the new building’s layout, structure and updated electrical, septic tank, heating and air conditioning are seen as a plus, said David Doudy, building inspector for Dolores.
The council chamber would be larger in the new building with a capacity of 90 people, compared to 45 in the current council chamber.
According to a recent Iconergy audit, the current building has many issues, city officials said, and needs energy efficiency upgrades.
The additions of the last decades are not well designed for an office and have been poorly constructed. During heavy rains, water flows into the offices. The walls are rotting and contain black mold, Doudy said. Heating and cooling systems are outdated and inefficient. The restroom plumbing has deteriorated and needs replacing, and the space is not ADA accessible.
Cost estimates to update the current City Hall include $94,000 for replacing the walls and the Sheriff’s Office heating unit, $156,000 to replace the old HVAC systems, $25,000 for the Updated Electricity; $30,000 for bathroom upgrade; $20,000 to replace single-glazed windows and add energy-efficient doors; $11,000 for energy efficient LED lights; and $13,000 for painting. Other needs are roof repair, roof insulation and new flooring.
The project and the purchase of the contract for the property is dependent on the awarding of grants to cover half the cost, Charles said. The city’s share would be funded from the city budget and is available.
“The price is affordable,” Charles said.
A new building would cost about $1.3 million based on the office and retail construction estimate of $300 per square foot for a 4,500 square foot building, Doudy said.
One or more public hearings or workshops will be held to gauge public sentiment regarding the resettlement project. The date is pending.
According to the resolution approving the purchase of the property, the City of Dolores Board of Directors may elect to terminate the purchase agreement no later than October 31 if it determines that public support for the purchase of the property is insufficient and provides for a new town hall.
The council can also decide to terminate the contract if the grant requests to cover half of the costs are not approved.
The grants available are part of the Colorado Energy Impact Assistant Fund funded by severance pay and oil and gas revenue paid to the state.
Charles said he has prepared the grant applications, which must be submitted by September 1. Award decisions will be announced in December.
City officials said a second benefit of the project is an improved Parc des Flandres. Once the building is demolished, the space would be transformed into a public plaza for community gatherings and events. The move has been discussed for years.
“The footprint of the current town hall occupies a significant area of Flanders Park,” the resolution reads. “Free up that space. . . will give the community a prominent public plaza feature between Railroad and Central Avenues. Demand to use Flanders Park often exceeds its capacity at community events, (and) demand for outdoor space has increased.