County mulls expansion |

County mulls expansion

Commissioners eyeing house on Oak Street for office

Susan Cunningham

Routt County commissioners are considering their options for a little white house on Oak Street that the county acquired through a condemnation process in 2000.

The house, which dates back to the early 1900s, is old, deteriorating and eventually may pose a safety hazard, said Tim Winter, Routt County purchasing and property manager.

The house is about 12 feet from Butcherknife Creek, far less than the 50-foot setback now required by law, so the county would not be able to build another structure where the house sits, he said. The house does not have a history of construction or fit a certain historical style, he said, so it likely isn’t important as a historic building. Currently, it is rented to a tenant.

On Tuesday, county commissioners discussed whether the house should be renovated or razed. Although they decided to continue to lease the house for now, they acknowledged it likely won’t be standing for too much longer.

The issue highlights a bigger question of where county offices will go after the justice center is built. Once courtrooms, clerk space and office space used by the district attorney and others, open at the old courthouse, all other county offices will have much needed breathing room.

“We are actually bulging at the seams right now,” Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said during the Tuesday discussion.

To aid in relocation, the county is funding a space-needs study to determine how much space each county office requires now and in the coming years. Winter hopes it can be completed by spring.

The long-range goal, Monger said, is to have all county offices in the downtown campus, which would mean the county could avoid paying rent at other sites. Along with that goal, the county wants to ensure that offices are not moved once in the near future then moved again when the justice center is finished, Monger said.

The county also prefers that departments that work closely together are placed fairly close together, Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said.

The county owns a strip of land along Oak Street, which it acquired when it was planning to build the justice center downtown.

The long, white building on Oak and Sixth streets, which used to be the area’s mortuary, was purchased from the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association in 2000. It holds First Impressions of Routt County, as well as the county’s purchasing department and emergency management offices.

The county hopes to move Routt County Environmental Health and the County Coroner’s Office back onto the county campus to avoid paying rent for the offices current 427 Oak St. location.

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