GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Garfield County commissioners have pledged to work between now and April on plans for a parking structure that the county wants to build using a piece of city-owned property on Colorado Avenue.
At a joint work session Thursday, city and county officials both agreed it's a project that will benefit the west side of downtown area near the city-county government complex.
Recently, Glenwood Springs City Council voted to put a question on the April 2013 municipal ballot asking city voters for permission to sell a small parcel in the 700 block of Colorado Avenue.
The property now serves as an extension of the recently expanded city-county parking lot at the corner of Seventh Street and Colorado. That lot is limited to two-hour parking.
But the county would like to combine the city parcel with properties to the south that it bought earlier this year as part of the $2.5 million Worrell-Durrett property deal, to build a multi-level, all-day parking garage.
The parking garage would benefit county government workers and those doing business with the county and the local courts who need longer-term parking, County Commissioner John Martin said.
"That way we take pressure off of the street parking, and help the courts with their jury parking, and those things," Martin said. "We're not trying to over-develop the area, we just want to make something work for both [the city and the county]."
In order to convince voters to allow the city to dispose of the property, though, there needs to be at least a preliminary development plan, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky agreed.
"We need to work together to have a plan in place in order to have a successful election," Jankovsky said.
Jankovsky also expressed concerns about the construction schedule for a parking structure if the Colorado Department of Transportation stays on track to begin work on the new Grand Avenue Bridge in late 2014.
"We don't want to have both of those projects under construction at the same time," Jankovsky said, suggesting the county might expand surface parking on those parcels in the interim.
In addition to planning for Colorado Avenue parcels, the county is also still in negotiations with Valley View Hospital for the purchase and/or swap for the former Petre law office building at the southwest corner of Eighth and Colorado, next to the county administration building.
"Those negotiations are ongoing, and both sides are trying to resolve the final details," County Manager Andrew Gorgey said Friday.
VVH recently acquired the Petre building, while Garfield County owns the land underneath the hospital on Blake Avenue. The two entities have been negotiating an exchange of some sort; however, details have not been released.
In another matter discussed as part of the city-county work session Thursday, county commissioners reaffirmed their verbal support to help the city fund various off-site improvements on Cooper Avenue between Eighth and Ninth streets.
The city is looking to fund additional on-street parking and alleyway improvements in conjunction with a new city parking structure at Ninth and Cooper and the new Glenwood Springs Library/Colorado Mountain College building under construction at Eighth and Cooper.