Above: Summer time photo of Galena Plaza looking toward Pitkin County Library 2005
Click Above for Current Site Design for Galena Plaza
In April, 1998 Walker Parking Consultants were retained to review and report on the condition of the garage to protect the investment and to maximize the useful life of the parking structure in a cost effective and efficient manner. Short and long term repair recommendations were made both for the rooftop Plaza and the parking structure. Drainage issues for the plaza and the structure were noted in this report titled, “Condition Review.”
The 2005 Walker Parking Consultants report titled, “Plaza Level Walk Through Assessment,”
recommended complete removal of the existing plaza, including the wear surface, sod and landscaping, concrete and all plaza sidewalk pavers to the limits of the garage facility’s foundation wall. The recommendations then included the installation of a new waterproofing system and concrete wear surface to the garage roof and a new plaza design surface. This new waterproofing system, which will utilize the most modern green roof construction technologies, will extend the service life of the facility. This recommendation was repeated again in the 2007 Walker Parking Consultants report, a supplement to the “Plaza Level Walk-Through Assessment.” The 2007 report included an Opinion of Probable Repair Cost of $1,920,000.
In September, 2008 following a competitive selection process, Carl Walker, Inc. was selected as the preferred garage roof repair consultant.
The design team, including staff from the Asset and Parks Departments, held a Community Open House at the Rio Grande building on May 20, 2010 with a 12:00 pm and a 5:30 pm session. The open house presented significant information in four areas:
· Project Need: existing conditions of the garage and the garage roof waterproof membrane;
- Value of the garage to the community and the monetary value of the garage;
- Activity of the Pitkin County Library, including the report, “Library Use and Space Analysis” and considerations for possible plaza/roof expansion over the open second level of the garage;
- Development of “sketch” concepts and identification of opportunities and constraints from numerous preceding meetings with agency and utility stakeholders.
From late 2010 through to the present, the City’s design team and the Library Architectural design team have been coordinating a linked design effort for the garage roof waterproofing repair/Galena Plaza replacement and a proposed Pitkin County Library building expansion.
The design team held a second Community Open House at the Rio Grande building on September 15, 2011, again with 12:00 pm and 5:30 pm sessions. A series of questions were presented to the public intended to guide the Criteria Design process. (Refer Attachment E) Public preference was solicited for the three (3) design concepts presented previously to Council:
- Option One: “Park”
- Option Two: “Quad”
- Option Three: “Plaza”
A clear majority of the public response favored a “Park” conceptual structure for the rooftop public space. Public response also favored design elements that are reflected in the proposed Galena Plaza Criteria Design Plan including:
- Grand Staircase linking plaza level to Rio Grande Park level;
- Garage roof expansion that provides additional public Open Space and overlook areas;
- Open space appropriate for Special Events, both large and small;
- Amphitheatre/performance space with orientation to Red Mountain/Rio Grande Park;
- Enhanced structure for existing garage elevator
Utilizing the information from the second Community Open House as well as information that has been collected to date from Council and individual stakeholder meetings, the design team has developed a comprehensive Galena Plaza Criteria Design Plan that encompasses the garage roof, North Galena Street and Library Alley. (Refer Attachment A)
The proposed Galena Plaza Criteria Design Plan addresses the following criteria driven elements that form the structural backbone of the design:
- Garage Waterproofing and Surface Restoration
- Pedestrian Circulation / and Quality People Space
- “Park” Design Character
- Vehicle Circulation
- Public Programming
- Storm Drainage Innovation
- Library Interface
The proposed Criteria Design Plan creates connected pedestrian oriented spaces between Main Street, Pitkin County Library and Rio Grande Park utilizing a vocabulary of naturalistic forms and elements. Implementation of an enhanced paving scheme at the northern terminus of Galena Street together with the introduction of large vegetated areas will change the character of the street corridor into a pedestrian focused and friendly place. The pedestrian walks are designed with generous widths and curvilinear forms to provide convenient connections between destinations while still providing an enjoyable and beautiful walking experience. A rhythm of movement into and through the greater Galena Plaza space from both north and south is created with proposed paving patterns, stone seats and attractive, effective lighting. Library Alley is proposed to become a one-way vehicular route exiting onto Main Street. A reconfiguration of Sheriff and Police vehicle parking is proposed that limits parking on Galena Street and introduces other dedicated on-street and off-street parking areas.
The actual area of garage roof will be transformed into a central open park lawn that will have subtle land forms along the sides to allow groves of medium sized deciduous trees to provide shade, color and form to the park setting. An amphitheater with seating terraces suitable for outdoor music and theater performances is sited at the expanded northern edge of the public open space to take full advantage of excellent views to the Roaring Fork River and Hunter Creek Valley/Red Mountain. The northwest corner of the garage roof will be activated by both the terraced amphitheater and a proposed children’s play area. At the northeast corner of the space, an overlook terrace with café tables and a seasonal shade canopy has been sited adjacent to the ‘grand staircase’ and above the parking garage entry to provide a comfortable place to eat lunch or simply enjoy the view while engaging visitors at both park/plaza and street levels.
Because the proposed Library Expansion is contingent upon voter approval in November 2012, the proposed Criteria Design Plan has been developed in order to allow this project to proceed regardless of a Library Expansion. An alternative “No Library Expansion” supplemental design plan has been developed by the design team that integrates into the developed Criteria Design Plan in the case of the proposed Library Expansion not occurring. This “No Library Expansion” design plan will be presented at the work session.
The environmental impacts are generally positive with enhanced stormwater pickup, improved water quality, revitalized landscape and pedestrian corridor enhancements. The deconstruction of the existing plaza in a manner that maximizes material recycling while maintaining a safe and manageable project site will be analyzed and further developed.
• The Galena Plaza is actually the green roof to the parking garage, and is unlike a typical roof
where leaks can be more easily identified. In order to fix the problem, everything must be
removed from the top of the garage structure – the soil & plants, the plaza paving, all of that –
and replace the membrane.
• The parking garage roof must be replaced due to leakage in the waterproofing membrane. If
the repairs are not done, the roof will experience continued deterioration, potentially causing
a partial structural failure, resulting in a much more expensive problem.
• The City of Aspen will use in-house staff to lead the design to improve Galena Plaza and
replace the waterproofing membrane. Staff will rely heavily on public input. Staff has already
met with many stakeholders in the area and will be holding a series of meetings throughout
• There will be no buildings associated with the project, other than perhaps a replacement of
the elevator/stairwell building connecting the garage to the plaza. The project will adhere to
the Civic Master Plan, adopted by Aspen City Council in December of 2006.
If you missed the first public meeting, which occurred on May 20, 2010, please use the below listed documents to review the presentation:
ACRA Vicinity Map_04-06-10.pdf
ACRA_Parking Garage _04-06-10.pdf
Existing Utility Alignments_30x42_05-18-10.pdf
Galena Plaza Schedule fcm.pdf