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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: September 3, 2020

Ideas for Emma Store buildings open to public input

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A volunteer Steering Committee has produced recommendations for the future of the Emma Store buildings, two landmark structures in Emma. Now, it’s time for the public to weigh in on the group’s ideas.

The Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Board reviewed the committee’s recommendation for reactivating the historic buildings on Thursday. A draft of the recommendation is available here.  The public is invited to review the recommendations and provide feedback via an online survey. An overview of the buildings and the site, including a video tour, is also provided. The survey link will be open through Oct. 9.  Those members of the public interested in a site tour can contact OST staff to arrange a visit.

The Steering Committee worked for more than a year to formulate its recommendations for the Emma Store, Warehouse and an auxiliary structure - brick buildings that have sat mostly unused since the early 19th century. Located at the county’s Emma Open Space, just west of Basalt, the structures were constructed in the late 1800s, when Emma served as a stagecoach and then rail stop, and was the epicenter of commerce and social activity for the midvalley ranching community.

The committee’s draft recommendation establishes parameters for future use of the buildings and a path forward to reactivating the buildings in a manner that respects a vision statement crafted by the group: “The Emma Store buildings will honor their historic agricultural roots, the natural environment and character of Emma, and provide a space that is accessible to the community and celebrates the innovative spirit of this location.”

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails purchased the 12.5-acre Emma Townsite property in 2008, with a contribution of funds from the Town of Basalt. The county quickly initiated work on the deteriorating mercantile buildings to stave off their collapse. Restoration projects stabilized the structures, but left the interiors to be addressed when deemed necessary for a future use.

The 2017 Emma Open Space Master Plan, encompassing the both the townsite and agricultural land on the opposite side of Hwy. 82, called for the formation of a Steering Committee to delve into potential future use of the old store buildings.

For more information or to arrange a tour of the buildings, contact Lindsey Utter, planning and outreach manager for Open Space and Trails, at lindsey.utter@pitkincounty.com or 970-920-5224.


Emma Store


Emma Store Buildings Future Use Recommendations
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