La Plata Youth Services may move into a house at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in October, making way for a new Durango Chamber of Commerce building next to Brookside Park.
The city plans to buy the Chamber of Commerce building in Santa Rita Park this year, and wastewater-treatment plant employees have already moved in following the demolition of the plant’s administration building.
The chamber expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with the city in August that will include the sale of its former building, the lease of the city property for its new building near Brookside Park and other details of the agreement, Executive Director Jack Llewellyn said.
The chamber moved into the Bank of Colorado at 1199 Main Ave. temporarily this summer, until its new building can replace the city-owned A-frame at 2301 Main Ave.
La Plata Youth Services, a nonprofit that serves at-risk youth, started in the A-frame building 22 years ago.
It’s been growing steadily and eventually planned to move out, said Dillon Walls, restorative justice coordinator with the nonprofit.
La Plata County government owns the house at the fairgrounds. It used to house the county manager. It has been vacant for several years and could provide the nonprofit with additional floor space, a kitchen, and a washing machine and dryer to better serve youth in need, Walls said.
It is also close to the nonprofit’s current location, and the move would keep Durango High School students from crossing north Main Avenue to visit, he said.
“We searched for properties that would allow us to continue our work with youth that were close by,” he said.
La Plata Youth Services approached the county about renting the house at the fairgrounds. The proposed lease will go before county commissioners for a vote next week, county spokeswoman Megan Graham said.
The nonprofit could pay $2,100 a month for the 2,245-square-foot house if the lease is approved, Graham said. The county may charge La Plata Youth Services rent for only the first floor of the house because the nonprofit plans to do improvements on the house, she said.
The city plans to demolish the A-frame near Brookside Park shortly after La Plata Youth Services vacates the building, Director of City Operations Levi Lloyd said.
“It’s an old building. It’s not really feasible to pick it up and move it,” he said.
The city also does not have a use for the A-frame, he said.
It’s unknown how much demolition might cost because the city doesn’t know whether there is asbestos in the building, he said.
The chamber was in the middle of fundraising $1.5 million to renovate and expand its building in Santa Rita Park before the building was sold to the city.
Llewellyn is speaking with donors about whether they want to withdraw their funding or donate to the new building, which has not been designed, he said.
The office will be built on city-owned land, just like the building in Santa Rita Park, he said.
The new facility is expected to have office space for the chamber to grow and a boardroom for members to use, he said.
“We can design from the ground up a whole new facility,” he said.
Renovating the building in Santa Rita Park could have come with uncertainties about what contractors would find when they started work, he said.
The project also gives the chamber the opportunity to participate in the revitalization happening along north Main, he said.