Old art museum space will temporarily house city workers | SummitDaily.com

Old art museum space will temporarily house city workers

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

File photoThe old Aspen Art Museum building will house city employees on an interim basis while the city eyes ways to expand or improve its civic offices and facilities.

Temporary city offices are in store for the building that once housed the Aspen Art Museum.

The Aspen City Council gave Capital Asset Manager Jack Wheeler the go-ahead Monday to reserve the space for workers who will be displaced because of likely future improvements to existing city space.

"It's OK with me as long as it's an interim use and there's no contemplating a permanent use for city offices," Councilwoman Ann Mullins said, noting that residents have expressed a desire that the riverfront building have a long-term community use.

Wheeler assured her it will be temporary space only, likely for three or four years. More details will come later about what city offices will occupy the civic space, which is a two-level, 7,200-square-foot building located at 590 N. Mill St.

The meeting came after the City Council on June 7 withdrew its support for a for-profit/nonprofit venture that would have included a beer garden and restaurant, a TV studio and event space on the ground floor and a 65-space office setting on the second floor.

The council had previously approved the concept, named the Aspen Power Plant, in 2015, selecting it over finalists Aspen Science Center, the Red Brick Center for the Arts, GrassRoots TV and resident Paul Kienast's gathering-spot proposal.

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The Power Plant project, however, proved divisive among the community for multiple reasons including zoning, alcohol service and city-owned space being used by a for-profit concern.

And on July 20, the City Council deadlocked on building a new 52,000-square-foot City Hall at 425 and 455 Rio Grande Place. The council now is moving toward remodeling the existing City Hall, which would mean employees there or at other city offices could be displaced.