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Trinidad City Council approves purchase of Toller, Aiello buildings, completing block for Space to Create; Children’s Fire House Museum closing

TRINIDAD — The Trinidad City Council approved the purchase of the Aiello and Toller buildings located at 218-228 West Main, with a 7-0 vote. The purchase completes the block of buildings needed by Space to Create. The buildings are currently held by M2 Lending Solutions, a Denver based mortgage company owned by Christopher Murphy. The city will pay $200,000 for the property with the deal closing on Friday, February 19. Even though the city had no legal obligation to make the purchase, it is viewed by many as a good move for the city’s future economic development. Several members of the community, about 30 people so far, have committed themselves to raising $30,000 for the Space to Create project. Even though the entire project is worth $7-9 million, one of the big unknowns will be the construction costs and the renovation of the buildings could take anywhere from a year to 18 months to complete. Other forms of financing available are the Federal Affordable Housing Credits, and Historic Preservation tax credits. The application for the Federal Affordable Housing Credit is due in April. The city is still looking into its budget to understand where the funds for the purchase will be drawn from. “Without risk there is no

movement,” Mayor Phil Rico said, during the discussion. The city welcomed Jonathan Taylor, the new Economic Development Director. He is faced with developing a new department in the city’s organizational structure, and notes that means a lot of work. “We’ve got to build a foundation first,” Taylor said. “We have got to make our decisions based on factual data. Being a rural community we often times don’t have that information available. “Do we export in retail, or do we export in construction or do we import? Where are the workers coming from, that’s the number one question. A site selector wants to know, ‘do I have qualified workers?’ That’s my number one goal for the next six months, is to make sure I have the information compiled, so that if a business wants to know, I have that information readily available.” The city council accepted the 2016 Monument Lake Operations Proposal. The proposal calls for a change in the hours of operation for the resort with it being closed Monday through Wednesday. It will be opened from 11 am until 8 pm, Thursday through Sunday. Most rates will see an increase, except the day-pass rates and camping rates. The Children’s Historical Society is closing its doors at the Old Fire House on North Commercial Street. The closure is due mainly to lack of interest, noted council member Pat Fletcher. “The ‘old’ moms, when we were moms, started the organization and hoped that the ‘new’ moms would take over and join the board. But they are busy with other things, so we voted to close the doors.” The meeting was adjourned at 7:46 pm.