Durango, CO: A combined fire and police station at the current River City Hall site in Durango has been determined to not be feasible as a joint project, but the fire district is still investigating the site for a new fire station while the city is considering the former 9R administration property as a new location for a potential City Hall complex.
“The fire chief and I realized the River City Hall site lot size is inadequate to cost-effectively build a fire station and police station without encroaching on other uses in the area and would not improve access to the Animas River,” said City Manager José Madrigal. “This does not mean that development of this site cannot happen. The fire district still believes the site is the best option for a new fire station.”
While the fire district is looking at ways to rebuild the outdated facility, the city is looking at how to address its own facility needs posed by the Police Department, Community Development Department, and City Hall; structures which are outdated and overcrowded. One option, first identified in 1994 under a Master Facility Program, is to use the former 9R administration property as a City Hall complex. This could consolidate City Hall, the Police Department, Community Development, other city offices, and community amenities in a municipal complex at the former 9R property.
“It is just an option to determine if the City Council would like to explore at this point,” Madrigal said. “Nothing has been decided.”
City councilors and the fire district are scheduled to receive an update on the project at a joint meeting Jan. 19 at City Hall.
Six main reasons are behind the decision to not move forward on a joint facility at River City Hall:
- Project price based on work completed (not actual estimates) was significantly over expectations.
- Lot size was not adequate for construction.
- Limited parking and prohibitive cost for an underground parking garage.
- Encroachment onto Iris Park.
- Negative impact on Camino Underpass Project.
- Negative impact on surrounding businesses.
The fire district shares the River City Hall site with the city’s Community Development Department. The fire district views the site as the best available for a new fire station, but in order to move forward, the district needs to divest itself of the former 9R property which includes the old administration building and Big Picture High School. The fire district purchased the property from 9R in December 2021.
Numerous options are under consideration pending direction from City Council, including a possible swap of River City Hall for the former 9R property.
The city and the fire district entered a Memorandum of Understanding in August 2022. The agreement set 12 months for the two sides to investigate the feasibility of building a joint-use facility at River City Hall, which is owned by the city. City and fire district staff have been meeting since September 2022 in bi-weekly discussions.
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