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1986 Plan for a New City Hall (Part 2)

form asks residents to chose a style from sketches of 11 buildings ranging from Victorian to modern concrete
The City hired an architect, who provided sketches of existing buildings to gauge style preferences for a new City Hall. – Golden Transcript – July 17, 1986

38 Years Ago
In 1960, Golden’s citizens voted to build a fine new City Hall. By 1986, the building was overcrowded, so City Council appointed a citizens committee to study the City’s current and future space needs. The group considered adding on to the existing building, leasing office space, and building a new City Hall. In the end, they recommended a new building. The City owned the lot at the southwest corner of 10th and Washington, vacant at that time. Since the land was already paid for, they estimated that a new building would cost $1.2 million. They also recommended remodeling the current City Hall to serve the police, fire department, and ambulance squad. The total cost of the two projects was estimated at $2.4 million.

(For perspective, the 1986 general fund budget was $4.65 million.)

As with any large expenditure involving many stakeholders, not everyone agreed that a new City Hall was the community’s highest priority. Colorado was still reeling from the oil bust, and was experiencing unemployment rates above 7%. Many homes were in foreclosure, and those who owned homes in the city weren’t anxious to have their property taxes raised to pay for a new municipal building.

9 color images of downtown buildings including several with for rent signs
Scenes from Downtown Golden in the 1980s

Business owners thought the City should invest its funds in economic development:

Contrary to popular belief in some Golden circles, money does not grow on trees…. Golden does not have unlimited funds, and therefore, Golden must prioritize its capital expenditures as we all must do in our private business or family budgets…. We must avoid the tendency to spend our limited financial resources…on luxuries (like a new city hall) until we first establish a healthy city economy.
Rick Lunnon, Guest Opinion Column – Golden Transcript – May 1, 1986

floor plan with a large council/court room, many offices, Clear Creek on one side and 10th St. on the other
Preliminary floor planning, showing main entrance near Clear Creek – Golden Transcript – September 9, 1986

Meanwhile, the architect continued his planning activities and produced a preliminary building design and floor plan.

drawing of a building with stairs in front and arches over the windows and door
Preliminary building design – Golden Transcript – September 30, 1986

Golden’s City Council and leaders must be dreaming…. Their new proposed city hall is too expensive, too large, and frankly too extravagant for our small-town flavor…. there’s no doubt that city employees need some more space…. I suggest we just build a smaller, more modest addition to city hall.
Don Kunce, Columnist – Golden Transcript – July 29, 1986

Tune in tomorrow for Part 3!

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!