Last month the Aspen City Council abruptly squelched a year of negotiations regarding the future of the city-owned original Aspen powerhouse, and directed staff to instead examine the building for government office use. Mayor Steve Skadron suggested that temporarily moving some city departments to the public building would allow the city to put on hold plans for building a new civic plaza on Galena street, and instead focus the community development office’s rehaul of planning and zoning guidelines.
During a work session last night, Jeff Pendarvis, asset project manager, presented staff findings that the original plan of building a new city hall is the cheapest and most efficient option. Additionally, it better meets the will of voters who last November asked that current city hall - the Armory Building - be covered to community use.
Calculations show that any combination of using the powerhouse, armory, and perhaps rented space to house city offices would cost more that forty million dollars, whereas the original Galena option comes in at 31 million dollars. The council also reviewed final plans for a new Aspen Police Department building and housing development, which is currently over budget.