Armory's future hinges on sale

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City officials will go before the Department of Local Affairs next month to make a pitch for a $400,000 Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program grant, but nobody knows exactly how that money will be spent.

It will be put toward purchase and renovation of the National Guard Armory for use by the Boys and Girls Club of Craig, but how much will be used for renovation and how much is needed to acquire the state-owned building are questions that need to be answered.

Moffat County leases the building from the Colorado Department of Military Affairs for $1 a year. They in turn have subleased it to the Boys and Girls Club of Craig for the same fee.

The lease agreement is for seven years, after which the Department of Military Affairs planned to sell it.

Boys and Girls Club officials have asked the DMA to consider selling the armory sooner.

As required by state statute, the building was appraised and valued at about $600,000, far more than the $300,000 purchase price expected by local officials.

The grant application indicates $300,000 would be used for building acquisition and $100,000 for renovation.

"I don't think it's any big deal," Boys and Girls Club committee chairman Pres Askew said. "There are some minor issues we're working on. No one has agreed that's the final and true value. A building is only worth what someone's willing to pay."

Several options remain, City Manager Jim Ferree said. The DMA could revise the appraisal using alternate market conditions and comparable values or it could consider prior renovations -- paid for locally -- as part of the value and deduct all or part of that amount from the final purchase price.

Moffat County paid $682,538.90 in 1998 to remodel the building for use as a youth care center. Funds were generated through grants and contributions and the county spend $169,538 from its general fund to remodel the facility.

Ferree said if the DMA sticks with the $600,000 appraisal price, he would be willing to request that full amount from the Department of Local Affairs.

"We just have to wait and see what happens over the next 30 days," he said.

The final price of the building will determine how -- if awarded -- the city spends the $400,000 it requested.

Ferree said officials with the Department of Local Affairs have been informed of the situation and seem supportive of the project. Concerns were also discussed with Gov. Bill Owens last week, who Ferree said also seemed supportive.

Askew said there are a few things that need to be done to the armory to get it set for use by the Boys and Girls Club, but several renovations are needed to make it useful to the entire community.

A learning center, computer lab and play center would suit the initial purposes of the Boys and Girls Club.

What $100,000 would do is allow for the construction of a gymnasium and the purchase of backboards and lights, which will benefit the Boys and Girls Club and the city Parks and Recreation Department.

"As far as the Boys and Girls Club goes, we don't require major renovation to be able to start working out of it (the building)," Askew said.

He thinks enough work can be done this summer to be able to start holding club activities in the building.

The Boys and Girls Club is operating at East Elementary School. Askew said ideally, $200,000 is needed to renovate the building to make it a "great building."

That would allow for some outdoor projects such as a paved parking lot and potentially for a playground, a baseball diamond or soccer fields.

"I'm very optimistic that we will be able to put this building in really nice shape," Askew said.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com

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