Mesa County to consolidate its buildings

Move could free funds for roads, fairgrounds

Mesa County administrators are planning to consolidate several facilities and offices into one location, freeing up money that could allow them to accelerate a couple of capital projects and inject some work into a starving construction community.

County officials have begun analyzing building and office space the county either owns or leases throughout the Grand Valley that could be liquidated in favor of offering services at a single building or campus, County Administrator Jon Peacock said.

The buildings and offices the county is considering combining into one include:

A building the county owns at 750 Main St. that currently houses the county’s Public Works and Planning and Development departments.

Motor vehicle-registration office space the county leases at Mesa Mall.

Warehouse space the county leases in several areas for supplemental food programs and emergency medical supplies.

The county’s Information Technology Department, housed in the basement of the county courthouse.

Peacock said he hopes to complete an analysis of office space the county could sell or terminate its lease on next month, with an eye toward moving those services into one location under a lease-purchase agreement.

That agreement would allow the county to walk away from its lease at any time without any financial penalty and, at the same time, take ownership of the property at the end of the contract.

Peacock said the departments and services would move into an existing building, although he’s not sure where at this point.

“It depends on: Can we find a building at a price that provides a reasonable return on investment?” he said.

The county is considering selling the Main Street building in light of the improvements the city of Grand Junction completed on Main between Seventh and Eighth streets in 2007.

“It could be put to a higher and better use with the renovation of Main Street,” Peacock said.

County officials want to take the money saved and plug it into capital projects that might otherwise be delayed because of 2010 budget cuts.

At the top of the project list are improvements to D 1/2 Road between 30 and 32 roads, and the county fairgrounds on U.S. Highway 50.

“This is an opportunity for us to make improvements while prices are cheap and jobs would benefit the community,” Peacock said.

Two years ago, a consultant hired by the county completed a feasibility study examining ways to enhance the fairgrounds. The consultant recommended, among other things, building a 35,000-square-foot indoor exhibition hall and improving the riding arena and grandstand facilities. Peacock said the county is analyzing the recommendations.

The D 1/2 Road project, estimated to cost $11 million to $12 million, would consist of installing sidewalks, curb and gutter along a two-mile stretch. The work primarily would benefit the roughly 1,000 students who attend Pear Park, Chatfield and Rocky Mountain elementary schools, all of which are located along that stretch of D 1/2 Road.

A 6-year-old girl walking home from Pear Park Elementary on D 1/2 Road was struck by a car and seriously injured in 2007. The accident prompted the county, the city and School District 51 to purchase and demolish a house and construct a sidewalk across the property so students didn’t have to criss-cross D 1/2 Road.


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