Adventure Park expansion plan goes before Garfield County commissioners today |

Adventure Park expansion plan goes before Garfield County commissioners today

John Stroud
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is seeking more flexibility from Garfield County government to grow and expand with new rides and attractions in the coming years.

The park, through owner Steve Beckley of POW Inc., is before the Garfield Board of County Commissioners at 1 p.m. today asking for an amendment to its prior land-use approvals.

The change would allow the park to make certain additions to the park, including new rides, without having to obtain individual permits each time.

“The overall impact of the facility was addressed through the prior approval processes,” according to a county planning staff report that was prepared for today’s meeting.

Several specific uses were defined in those approvals. However, over time it’s hard to identify all possible uses, resulting in time-consuming applications whenever a major new attraction is added, the report notes.

“The applicant proposes that uses consistent with the character of the existing facility be permitted with no further county land-use review,” according to the planning report.

If a particular attraction is proposed at some point that appears to be inconsistent with the park’s concept, the county’s building and planning director would have to make the call whether to allow it. That decision could still be appealed to the county commissioners, under the proposal before the board today.

The Garfield County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the change at a meeting earlier this month.

The Caverns Adventure Park is planning several additions this year, with even more in the works over the next five years, according to a master plan that was submitted to the county.

Among the new features coming this year are a Western-themed Ferris wheel, a carousel with animals of the Rocky Mountains, and a smaller coaster for younger children to run along with the existing Alpine Coaster.

Construction is also proposed to begin this year on some larger attractions, including a roller coaster that will rise to a height of about 50 feet, according to the park’s master plan.

Work is also already under way to expand the cave tours with a new loop that is being excavated. The new tour will take visitors into some previously inaccessible areas of the historic Fairy Caves.

More passenger tramway cars are also proposed to be added to the existing tram system, from the present 12 up to 36 cars. Additional ground transportation up Transfer Trail to the park may also be needed.

“The use of buses or vans would minimize the sometimes hour-long wait for the tram,” according to the county planning report. “This request would limit average bus/van traffic to 30 vehicle trips per day.”

Also before the county commissioners this afternoon is a continued public hearing on plans by Charlie Ellsworth of Bedrock Resources to relocate an existing asphalt batch plant from a site near Silt to a location east of the Garfield County Regional Airport.

At a meeting earlier this month, operators of the Eagle Springs Organics farm, located next to the proposed asphalt plant site, expressed concerns about potential impacts from plant air emissions to the farm.

County planning staff was asked at that time to research the issue and report back on any possible impacts. A report with comments from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Agriculture is to be presented at today’s meeting.

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