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The former Boulder Community Health hospital site that will house city offices and housing,
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Boulder County will not relocate any of its central services to the city-owned Alpine-Balsam area, citing the lack of parking as one of the biggest barriers.

A working group of city and county officials came to the decision earlier this month, said Jean Gatza, a senior planner for the city.

The group was tasked with looking at the feasibility of Boulder County moving offices from its campus at Iris Avenue and Broadway Street in order to share the Alpine-Balsam area with the city.

The move would increase the number of parking spaces needed from about 400 for city staff, customers and residents to nearly 800 spaces.

The current parking structure at Broadway and Alpine Avenue can only accommodate 400 spots, and adding an additional level would only increase it by 60 to 80 spaces, according to a draft letter from the working group to Boulder City Council.

“The criteria seemed insurmountable at Alpine-Balsam,” Gatza said. “I think the group was disappointed, because there was some excitement about the possibility of co-locating, but they wanted to be clear earlier rather than later about the feasibility of the project.”

County Administrative Services Director Jana Petersen said the decision was the result of a lot of hard work by both city and county leaders, who looked at the size of the property, building and accessibility for clients in determining whether to relocate.

“This was definitely a mutual decision and we all left a little disappointed because it was an opportunity for a partnership that would have really benefited Boulder residents, to have different municipal services at one location,” Petersen said. “But at the end of the day, we couldn’t figure out how to make it work.”

County leaders will continue looking at how to relocate the Iris campus or redevelop it, according to the working group’s draft letter to the city, and is ideally looking to consolidate services into a central hub, similar to the St. Vrain Hub in Longmont.

Redeveloping the Alpine-Balsam area has been a thorny saga for the city, as residents have aired staunch support and opposition over housing density, land use and other redevelopment plans.

Deconstruction work has begun at the former Boulder Community Hospital building, located at the Alpine-Balsam site, Assistant City Manager Chris Meschuk said Monday at a meeting between city and University of Colorado Boulder officials.

More updates on the Alpine-Balsam project will be presented by city staff at a Jan. 21 city council meeting.

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