County tears down buildings, but plans for space up in air

Future plans for the space being cleared on East Second Avenue are up in the air. Workers with Animas Valley Construction clear out debris after the demolition of a building across from the La Plata County Courthouse. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/ Durango Herald

Future plans for the space being cleared on East Second Avenue are up in the air. Workers with Animas Valley Construction clear out debris after the demolition of a building across from the La Plata County Courthouse.

The walls are coming down at two county-owned buildings on East Second Avenue.

La Plata County is demolishing the buildings across from the Courthouse but hasnít quite figured out what will take their place, said Al Thye, general services director.

The county bought the buildings, one of which was a historic house, a few years ago with future plans to create parking and more space for county offices. The county will need extra space in the Courthouse if planned federal court functions end up moving in.

The county has been trying for more than a year to persuade the federal government to expand court services in Durango. Earlier this year, the La Plata County commissioners submitted a proposal to lease 12,000 square feet in the Courthouse building to make room for expanded federal court services.

Currently, the federal government operates a courtroom and related services in a federal building in Bodo Industrial Park. But the court siteís fate is unclear after a March announcement that Durango was one of 60 sites across the country being considered for closure.

As it stands, there are no immediate plans to build any kind of structure on the now-cleared East Second Avenue lot, Thye said. The county is in the process of conducting a facilities master plan that will help determine what should replace the demolished buildings. That plan will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners sometime this summer, he said.

The county also owns the building on the southwest corner of East Second Avenue and 11th Street and recently purchased the Vectra Bank building across the street for $2.7 million. There arenít plans to demolish either building, but the county will remodel the Vectra Bank building this fall, Thye said.

The current $250,000 demolition project is scheduled to be mostly complete by next week, he said.

ecowan@durangoherald.com