Looking Ahead to Reuse in Hotchkiss, CO

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About Hotchkiss
Hotchkiss, Colorado is a unique and special place that has experienced significant changes over the years. There have been ups and downs in the Town’s economy, but its beauty and history have stayed the same. To keep the community a great place to live for generations to come, the Town has prioritized economic development, completing the Hotchkiss Prosperity Plan in 2019. One of the key priorities identified in that plan was downtown revitalization.

About the Project
In early 2020, The Town began working with Region 10 and Community Builders to explore opportunities for revitalization and soon set sights on the old Public Works Building. Due to its location and existing ownership by the Town, the Public Works Building was an ideal catalytic project for downtown Hotchkiss. In addition, there were a number of vacant buildings identified in the immediate vicinity of the Public Works Building, and a successful reuse of the building could serve as a direct catalyst for further adaptive reuse.

Hotchkiss wanted to involve the community in the ideas for the building, and an authentic and robust public engagement process took place that provided different viewpoints a chance to find common ground and reach shared goals for the building. Utilizing several of the community’s concepts, the final concept became a flexible commercial space that could accommodate multiple vendors including eateries, retail, maker and/or light manufacturing uses. A critical component of this idea was its availability to the public to ensure the building would also be a gathering place for the community.

Community responses to an installation chalkboard on the Public Works Building.

Looking Ahead
Although Hotchkiss completed a successful public engagement process and landed on a concept for the building, the Town has some challenges ahead. The Public Works Building was previously used as a shop for equipment repairs and was built in the 1950s, meaning it’s likely a brownfield site. If the building proves to be contaminated, the site will need to be cleaned up and void of health hazards.

As a first step, the Town has partnered with the Colorado Brownfields Partnership to assess the presence of environmental contamination on the property. This includes submitting an application to receive a free Targeted Brownfield Assessment. These results will first identify if contamination is present, and if so, will also provide additional info such as if the contamination spreading, who might be affected by the contamination, and how they might be affected.

If the Public Works Building is identified as a brownfield, the Partnership will continue working with Hotchkiss to provide them with additional educational and financial resources for cleanup, ultimately ensuring the building realizes its immense potential and becomes a great downtown destination.

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