Skip to content

Search the site

City Hall Discussion of the 1980s - Part 1

Black and white photo showing crowd of people with backs to camera, facing Golden Municipal Center
Grand opening of Golden City Hall in 1961

38 Years Ago
In March of 1986, Golden’s City Council was considering what to do about over-crowding in City Hall. A citizen’s committee had reviewed the current and future space needs, and concluded that we should build a new City Hall. The existing building would then be remodeled to accommodate the police, fire, and ambulance staffs. The total for those two projects was estimated at $2.4 million.

City Council appreciated the proposal, but balked at the price. Then, the City Manager discovered $1.2 million in the City coffers that was unallocated! There was much excited discussion of how that money should be spent. A new City Hall seemed like the perfect project.

There was some concern about where to get the remaining $1.2 million. At that time, the City had no debt, and many people thought that was a desirable state.

Washington Avenue and the Welcome to Golden arch with only two parked cars in front of the stores
Underpopulated Downtown of the 1980s

City Council was divided as to whether they should ask the citizens to vote on this project (since it would require going into debt). Some members thought Council’s job was to make such decisions, while others thought they should seek public input. The local economy was fragile at that time. The historic downtown had many vacancies and sales tax was far from robust. Under such conditions, residents might not approve a ballot issue for a new City building.

They may tell us, ‘You put that up, we’ll vote it down’.
City Councilman Frank Leek – Golden Transcript – March 11, 1986

black and white image of 2 story brick school building, 1920s style, mountains in background
Golden High School, later Golden Junior High

The Golden Junior High building (now the Mountaineering Center) was soon to be vacated, and many people thought the City should acquire that building, which had more than enough space. The space committee recommended building something new, custom-fitted to the City’s needs. The Visitors Center had not yet been built, so staff proposed building on that lot, at 10th and Washington.

Council held a public hearing to gauge the public’s desire for a new City Hall. Predictably, some citizens spoke in favor of the project, while others wanted more costing information, predicting that the project would cost at least $3 million.

Tune in tomorrow for part 2!

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!