Add pierogies to the list of Grand Avenue bridge construction casualties
Polanka’s pierogies and other Polish delicacies are packing up and moving west to Rifle. The Glenwood Springs shop will close its doors on April 7 and reopen in Rifle on April 14.
Why the departure?
“There’s no reason to stay,” said Jerry Housin, who owns the restaurant with his wife. His mother in law first opened the place in 2012. Since then, following the Grand Avenue Bridge work and ongoing construction, he says the Sixth Street corridor is “dark, dismal,” and bad for business.
“The other side is lit up all fancy, but none of that attention is being paid over here,” he said, referencing the south side of the bridge leading into downtown Glenwood Springs.
On his side, sidewalks are closed off, bus traffic and foot traffic are down and cars and RVs coming off the interstate have a hard time navigating the roundabout to get to the businesses, according to Housin.
Housin cites Polanka’s sales being down between 30 and 40 percent. It was even worse during the main bridge construction.
Carl Moak, owner of Summit Canyon Mountaineering across the street from Polanka, has noticed similar trends.
“I’m sure the changes will happen, its just very slow,” Moak said. “All sense of urgency went away once the bridge itself was completed.”
A lot of the solutions presented to businesses, Moak said, are temporary ones. Housin said the phrase he often hears is “exploring options.” What they want is permanent solutions.
Jen Ooton, assistant city manager for Glenwood Springs, said a presentation will be made during city council’s work session April 5 on a proposed plan for striping and lighting Sixth Street, which would be “between temporary and permanent.”
The restriping proposal would put in place a two-way bike lane on the north side and street parking, according to Ooton.
Recently, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his nominations for 126 Opportunity Zones across the state “that will be eligible for new federal tax incentives established in the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017,” according to a press release.
Two of the nominated areas are in Glenwood Springs — including the Sixth Street corridor and the downtown and commercial district.
City Manager Debra Figueroa said in the press release that the zones hope to “provide a boon to revitalization projects and improve quality of life in our distressed neighborhoods.”
“We’re excited to see some improvements over there,” Ooton said.
But it will be without the popular Polanka. Those still in pursuit of pierogies will have to take the roundabout to the Interstate 70 West exit, all the way to 309 Railroad Ave. in Rifle.