Old town hall gets a new purpose, lease on life
Did you know ...
The former Eagle Town Hall was built in 1903 and it was the first brick building in Eagle.
Located just one and one half blocks from the town’s train depot, it was part of a thriving business block. The first business to open there was the Eagle Club Saloon.
The building’s character changed in 1918 when the Red Cross remodeled it to serve as a hospital to treat patients during the Spanish Influenza epidemic. When the epidemic ended in 1919, the building was remodeled again into an auto show room. During the 1920s, an addition was built on the east side for use as a firehouse.
In 1930, the Delphian Society, a women’s home study group, needed a place for ranch and farm wives to gather when they visited town. The society purchased the building for use as a public gathering place. It was known as the Community House for many decades.
Tax issue prompted the Delphian Society to sign over the building to the town of Eagle and in 1958, the structure officially became the Eagle Town Hall.
In 1977, the building was declared a national historic site and the town obtained a $12,500 grant to remodel it. The building served as town hall until 2002 when the new Eagle Town Hall was built on Broadway.
— Information obtained from the Eagle County Historical Society’s publication “Eagle, Colorado: A Walking Tour of a Historic Mountain Town.”
EAGLE — Eagle’s former town hall, located at 108 West Second St. downtown, is one of the old grand dame structures in town.
The old girl is getting a shot of new life as two local nonprofit organizations prepare to operate out of the space.
The Eagle Town Board has given approval for Ute Springs Experiential Learning Center and Mean Streets Boxing to operate offices and programs at the site. While final details of the leases still must be worked out, the town has agreed in principal to the two operations’ uses for different parts of the building. Ute Springs will use office space on the second story of the building while Mean Streets Boxing will use the former town board meeting space to operate its boxing programs.
“The gym is almost ready to go,” said Mean Streets operator Mike Piscotta this week. “I have brought everything out of storage and it is looking good.”
Eagle Mayor Anne McKibbin noted that Eagle hasn’t yet decided its long-term plans for the old town hall property. The options include remodeling the building, selling it as is or tearing it down. Because of the building’s age, there are issues related to asbestos remediation and other structural concerns. Those conditions will drive up the price of a building remodel. If the town opted to sell the structure, it would first have to conduct an election to get the voters’ approval because the building has served as a public space.
As it readies the space for the new tenants, McKibbin noted the asbestos concerns aren’t a problem as long as the areas where asbestos has been identified are undisturbed. If left undisturbed, those areas are not a hazard. That means uses that can operate without any changes to the building can be safely located at the old town hall. As a result, the Town Board has agreed to, temporarily at least, allow the two nonprofits to use the building.
Trying not to compete
McKibbin noted that it is better for the building to be occupied. “That helps to maintain it,” she said, “and there is clearly a demand for that space.”
McKibbin said the town board agreed to lease space to the two nonprofits, at a rate of $800 per month each, because that would not compete with existing commercial space in town.
“To me, philosophically, when we decided to lease the space, it was important that we didn’t compete with commercial properties,” said McKibbin.
She noted the town does need to develop a clear policy regarding use of the town hall along with making a decision about its long-term future.
“I think it’s a structure that could certainly be eligible for listing on the state registry of historic places or even the national registry,” said McKibbin. If the town successfully obtained that designation, McKibbin noted the building would be eligible for grant funding.
In the meantime, the two operations will occupy two-thirds of the structure. The main floor office space, previously used by the Eagle Valley Enterprise, is now vacant.