Potential Silverthorne fire station updates continue

The Silverthorne Art Board has worked for months to develop a business plan to convert the town's old fire station into a space for artists. In the coming weeks, the organization will conduct final tallies for how much the conversion will cost.
Ryan Hyland/Town of Silverthorne

Organizers looking to convert Silverthorne’s former fire station into a space for artists have created proposed phases for their vision as they wait to get the final OK from the public and elected officials.

Currently, Silverthorne Town Council has not given the official approval for the project, but it has discussed the conversion multiple times during meetings. Overall, council members have expressed support for the project, so the town’s staff has already divided the project into potential phases to keep the project moving forward until they are ready to make an official presentation to the council.

Recreation and culture director Joanne Cook said that the phases are not necessarily an official timeline. They were created to facilitate conversation between board members.

Phase 1 aims to “refresh and activate” the Fire Station to increase curbside appeal while holding back on projects inside the station. This part could be completed by Memorial Day, according to the proposed plan. Even though it is on the timeline for the fire station project, Cook said these are updates that need to be made to the building anyway — regardless of it becoming an artists’ space or not.

Specifically, Phase 1 would include painting the exterior bay doors red, installing five outdoor lights on the building, cleaning the outdoor area, updating the landscaping and putting market lights on trees. The initial phase also outlines a Pop-Up Market, which would be outside of the station, where art vendors can set up stands to sell their pieces. Though not technically part of the conversion project, the market would create an opportunity to activate the space around the station.

“When we look at that outdoor space around the fire station, it feels like, depending on the vendor, we could have two or three vendors at once out there,” Cook added. “Knowing that summer is such a high-traffic time for people to be walking downtown, and to complement the new Bluebird Market and the things that happen at the Pavilion and the Performing Arts Center, it just feels right to have a few vendors there selling food or drinks or artful items and just signaling that this is a space where we like to have people walking and where people are welcome.”

For the Phase 2, this would involve projects that are the first to be completed inside the building, such as preparing the ceramic studio, makerspaces and an art exhibition space. Phase 3 and 4 include opening additional spaces and other long-term projects.

“When you start looking at Phase 2, we’re saying, ‘Hey, here are the kind of the things that we can envision being the first things to open if everything inside wasn’t done all at once for a grand opening,'” Cook said. “We’re working toward the first step. When we open the door, we definitely want some public spaces available …”

In the past, town leadership discussed other options for the station — including housing and child care — but the building provides aspects that are less than ideal for both of those options. Little parking, lack of nearby neighborhoods and the busy traffic location especially affected the option for early child care. The building’s history and adaptability for artists’ use made it an ideal spot to convert to an arts space, some art board members told the Town Council in November.

In March, the art board met with the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee to discuss the finances around the project. Before presenting the final version to Town Council, organizers want to have a solid financial plan on how much the conversion will cost. Cook said organizers are still working to finalize those numbers.

This conversion would contribute to the overall Arts and Culture Strategic Plan that the town has put together. According to the plan, the emerging downtown area — where the fire station is located — is a priority.

“Amendments should encourage the development of spaces, such as live-work studios, art galleries, arts, culture and heritage displays, and areas that encourage public gathering,” the plan reads.

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