Pitkin County commissioners approved the Emma Store Buildings Future Use Recommendation on Jan. 27, 2021. It provides guidance on potential use of the historic buildings, as well as next steps to reactivate the site. The approved recommendation is available via the above link (the recommendations begin on page 26).
The recommendation, also approved by the Open Space and Trails Board, was crafted by a Steering Committee, which met over a nearly two-year period to draft the proposals.
A proposed initial step is the creation of a soft-surface trail through the property and potential amenities to encourage visitors to explore the site. Among the potential uses for the store buildings, identified by the committee, are arts/heritage craft center/studio(s), agricultural-related uses, a museum, small-scale community gather spot, and other opportunities. The group agreed that a variety of uses could be housed together in a successful repurposing of the buildings.
IN THE BEGINNING...
The Steering Committee first met in April 2019 for a site visit at the historic store buildings at Emma Open Space. A series of discussions followed throughout 2019 and into 2020. Early on, the committee agreed to a Vision Statement (below) that guided its recommendation on future use of the buildings.
The Emma Store Buildings will honor their historic agricultural roots, the natural environment and character of Emma, and provide a space that is accessible to the community and celebrates the innovative spirit of this location.
DISCUSSIONS BEGAN WITH 2019 SITE VISITS
The Emma Townsite Steering Committee convened for a site visit in April 2019. Suzannah Reid, Pitkin County's historic preservation officer, led the group on a tour of the structures and explained the work that has been done to date to preserve the buildings. The townsite is located on the county's Emma Open Space.
The Steering Committee included six members of the public appointed by the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board: Raul Gawrys, Carolyn Shipp, Harry Teague, Mitzi Rapkin, Martha Ferguson and Jason Smith. In addition, Margaret Simmons and Liz Newman represented the Emma Caucus. Sara Nadolny attended for the Town of Basalt and Matt Annabell was the Historical Society representative. Michael Kinsley participated as a member of the Open Space and Trails Board, and Suzannah Reid participated as the county's historic preservation officer.