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December 21, 2012
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Garfield County chips in for downtown Glenwood Springs improvements

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Garfield County has kicked in $800,000 to help complete several off-site street and pedestrian-area improvements associated with the Cooper Avenue redevelopment projects in downtown Glenwood Springs.

The grant to the city of Glenwood Springs and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) came as part of the county commissioners' approval of the 2013 county budget on Dec. 10.

"This is a win-win that ties the projects together, and is a great example of collaboration between the city council and the board of county commissioners," Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said in a press release issued by the DDA announcing the grant.

"The parking structure, library and Colorado Mountain College projects represent the first of many big improvements and redevelopment projects for downtown Glenwood Springs that will be accomplished through partnerships and a spirit of cooperation," Jankovsky said.

Two major projects representing $17 million in infrastructure investment, including the combined Glenwood Springs Library and CMC building at Eighth and Cooper and the new city parking garage at Ninth and Cooper, broke ground earlier this year.

The public parking garage is already partially open, and full completion is expected in early January. The new, two-story library/CMC building is slated for completion late next summer.

As part of the larger downtown redevelopment effort, the DDA and city have been planning a range of off-site landscaping, pedestrian and parking improvements. The city would also like to reconfigure the existing surface parking lot on the east side of Cooper next to the firehouse to create more parking spaces.

However, funding has not been available to complete the extra work until the county stepped forward. The grant will come from the Garfield County Oil and Gas Mitigation Fund.

"Our relationship is as strong as it has been in years," said Todd Leahy, Glenwood Springs city council member, on the partnership between the entities.

"It's a mutual effort and strong commitment," he said. "When we work together we can accomplish so much more."

Construction of the Cooper Avenue improvements are anticipated to be completed by the end of 2013.

The city and the county are also collaborating with the county to eventually build a public parking structure on the west side of Grand Avenue, in the 700 block of Colorado Avenue, just east of the historic courthouse.

City council recently agreed to put a question on the April 2013 municipal ballot asking city voters permission to sell a small city-owned piece of property in that block to the county. The county already owns parcels on either side of the city parcel.

The county is currently in the planning stages to design and build a parking garage on the site. It could be 2014 before that project comes to fruition, depending on the outcome of the city election.">class="NormalParagraphStyle">

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 21, 2012 12:58AM Published Dec 21, 2012 12:51AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.