The Durango Chamber of Commerce is moving out of its building in Santa Rita Park to make way for city of Durango staff to move in.
The city plans to purchase the building from the chamber and use it during construction of the wastewater-treatment plant, before redeveloping it as part of the park.
The chamber eventually plans to move to 2301 Main Ave., which houses La Plata Youth Services. In the interim, the chamber will set up shop in the Bank of Colorado building at 1199 Main Ave.
The grand reshuffling is expected to play out over the next few years, according to a news release issued by the chamber.
The city’s new wastewater-treatment plant is set to break ground in June and be completed in 2019.
Assistant City Manager Kevin Hall said the purchase price of the chamber building will not be released until closing papers are signed.
The chamber plans to tear down an A-frame building at 2301 Main Ave. and build a new headquarters. Construction of the new building is expected to take 18 to 24 months.
“With Santa Rita in the middle of a construction zone for possibly the next three years, moving the chamber offices out of the park seemed like the best option,” the release said.
In an ironic twist, the chamber used to be housed in the A-frame building for a number of years in the 1970s and 1980s before moving to its Santa Rita Park location in 1986.
“Change is inevitable, and history repeats itself as we return to our past location in Brookside Park,” chamber Executive Director Jack Llewellyn said. “The chamber and city of Durango worked diligently to find a location that worked for both organizations.”
The chamber was in the middle of a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to expand its building in Santa Rita Park and has raised about half the money. Those funds will now be directed toward the new building.
La Plata Youth Services, which works with at-risk youth, must be out of the A-frame building by Oct. 16. It has proved to be a good location for the nonprofit because of its close proximity to three schools, a trolley stop and the Animas River Trail, said Executive Director Katy Pepinsky.
“We’ve been here for 22 years, since we were founded as a nonprofit,” she said. “ The city has made a significant donation to us over the years with free rent, and they make a financial contribution as well.”
She added: “We’re meeting with the city and (La Plata) County to see what spaces they might have available, and we’re looking at commercial space, too. Our long-term goal is to be located with other organizations that work with youths and families, so this is an opportunity to catalyze those conversations on having a shared space.”
La Plata Youth Services is also supported by the towns of Bayfield and Ignacio, Durango School District 9-R and grants. The organization supports and advocates for about 400 young people each year who are dealing with challenges at school, at home or in the courts.