The Sopris Sun

Library RFPs available, deadline March 28

Sopris Sun Staff Report

So what’ll it be this time around for the former library building: a performing arts facility, non-profit outfit, for-profit business, day-care center, educational facility or numerous other uses with the probable exception of a bilingual Bingo parlor?

Folks have until March 28 to speculate because that’s the deadline for proposals to lease the 3,800-square-foot building from the town. The RFP (request for proposals) is available on-line and at town hall. The field is fairly wide open because the RFP only states that the town is soliciting proposals from “qualified non-profits, for-profit businesses and community groups” to occupy the former Gordon Cooper Library at 76 S. Fourth St.

If you’ll remember, the town went through this last year and eventually awarded the lease to a non-profit that proposed to double the building’s size and open the James Surls Visual Art Center. A lease was never signed and when Surls pulled out earlier this year it was back to the RFP process.

Most of the provisions and requirements in the new RFP are the same as the old one, except that adding on significant square footage is “discouraged” and the town would like for the lease to extend less than 10 years.

The RFP says that proposals will be evaluated based on:

• The economic benefit to the town of Carbondale;

• The vitality of downtown;

• The ability to succeed without additional town support;

• The ability to meet the requirements of the RFP.

After the applicants have turned in their RFPs, the town trustees will hear proposals during a work session but will not take public input until a regular meeting. Last year, one meeting continued for more than two hours as dozens of people commented on two of the three proposals.

How much will the lucky winner pay in rent? Each applicant makes its own proposal. It’s the top line on the bid sheet and it’s blank.

On a related note, the town will hold tours of the library for interested parties from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 24-25.