Good walls make good neighbors |

Good walls make good neighbors

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi News
Granby, CO Colorado

GRANBY – A wall may be the resolution to tenant disputes within a Grand County building that provides office space for the Colorado Workforce Center, the Grand County Division of Natural Resources and garage space for Grand County Search and Rescue.

During a county workshop on Friday in the Grand County Road and Bridge building, which sits adjacent to the building that was the subject of discussion that day, commissioners and tenants decided a wall would solve traffic flow problems and would help protect computers and confidential records belonging to the Colorado Workforce during times when staff is not present. The Workforce office is located in the vicinity of the front entrance of the building.

Because conflicting uses of the building had come to a head recently, the county attorney issued an eviction notice to the state agency for violations of the lease. The notice successfully brought all parties to the table, according to commissioners.

“We sent a letter to say there are issues,” said Gary Bumgarner, commission chairman, to representatives of the Workforce Center at the meeting, including Rural Consortium Workforce Director Rosemary Pettus. “But we have no intention of moving you if we can work out the issues.”

The county has supplied the office space to the Workforce Center rent-free for nearly a decade in that building, and in other spaces for just as long. Grand County Natural Resources moved in to share the 469 East Topaz building with the Workforce Center about two years ago.

At issue were use of a bathroom that was at times locked to other tenants during Workforce use of the conference room, plus use of the entryway, which was locked when Workforce employees were out of the office, creating problems for Division of Natural Resources visitors.

The Colorado Workforce Center sees an average 12 to 15 clients a day, whereas the Grand County Division of Natural Resources sees about one client to as many as 10 per day.

A wall with a door and lock would not only protect confidential records in the Workforce Center when staff is away, but would create a corridor leading DNR visitors to the appropriate offices, the parties reasoned.

Granby Town Manager Wally Baird also offered the Workforce Center a Town of Granby space if parties concluded the county building was no longer suitable.

Whatever the solution, people such as Le Kukuk, a citizen who relies on the Workforce Center for notifying her of available work, hoped the Workforce Center would not be in jeopardy due to space conflicts.

“I’m a huge advocate of the Workforce Center,” she said. “I’ve been unemployed for months to a year now. And they call me religiously, even if it’s a day job for $50 to pay my bills… What a blessing they are to our community. If they had to move out of here, there would be a lot of people hurting.”

Upon criticism from citizens at the meeting that the county eviction notice may have been overly aggressive, County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran said the eviction notice was the legal way to handle what appeared to be an internal “turf war.”

The notice served to bring parties to the table to cure perceived violations of the lease, rather than “degenerating” the discussion to “personnel issues,” she said.

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