Call for art at North Landing troubles caucus | PostIndependent.com

Call for art at North Landing troubles caucus

A bicyclist rides by the Sixth Street "North Landing" near the Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge on Monday afternoon. The city of Glenwood Springs is seeking proposals for a sculpture funded through a National Endowment for the Arts grant to be situated on the site.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Take two, and action.

After Glenwood Springs rejected all three ideas for the now city-owned North Landing site where the former Grand Avenue Bridge previously touched down, the city’s latest Request For Proposals (RFP) for the plot has raised eyebrows regarding the city’s ultimate plot line for the parcel of land in question.

The latest RFP calls for artists or teams to craft a unique, three-dimensional piece to be featured on the parcel.

But that piece of the puzzle does not necessarily trouble the recently formed North Glenwood Caucus, which has petitioned council and staff to keep the land an open, public space.

It’s the part which reads, “Eventually this property will be redeveloped to include a privately owned outdoor plaza that is open to the public, where the art will permanently reside,” that does.

“The RFP is deceptive in that it is not a commitment to the Sixth Street Master Plan,” North Glenwood resident and caucus member David Hauter told the Post Independent.

“The Sixth Street Master Plan was very clear that it should be open space,” he maintained. “That was the preferred thing.”

On page 56 of the Sixth Street Master Plan, it states in regard to the land adjacent to the pedestrian bridge, “A key focal point, this city-owned space can be converted, in whole or in part, to a public park or plaza that would provide a much needed gathering space to serve North Glenwood residents and visitors.”

Glenwood Springs Mayor Michael Gamba has touted hypothetical ideas like that of a brewpub for the 16,300 square foot area. But that line of thinking doesn’t fly for caucus members.

“The reason that they want to privatize it is not because it’s better city planning,” Hauter said. “You can’t call this public space and private at the same time.”

While Hauter, as well as numerous other North Glenwood residents, do not oppose private development, they do believe by keeping the city-owned land in city hands as a public, open space will further incentivize the private sector to bring their business, not on, but rather around it.

“I think there is a dialectic that involves this 16,300 square feet that really involves the overall question of what Sixth Street is going to look like in the future,” Hauter said. “The role of the city should be, if there are differences, rather than talking over those differences, help mediate them …

“I would like to see the city and that dialogue get better, because I think there’s more commonality underneath the disagreements,” he said.

Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa told the Post Independent no decisions have been made by City Council for the Sixth Street site. However, the city has secured a $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant for artwork in the area.

The city manager made clear, regardless of what becomes of the parcel of land, it will include the artwork.

Glenwood Springs Assistant City Manager Jennifer Ooton also stated, “The language in the RFP was intended to convey that the sculpture would need to be constructed so that it could be installed and then reinstalled, and there would likely be improvements to the site in the form of a plaza and building, so the artist shouldn’t be thinking of an art piece that would take the entire space.”

Ooton continued, “Artists tend to dream big, so we wanted to provide some parameters for the sculpture or art piece in terms of scale and durability.”

According to the RFP, for the all-inclusive art project on the North Landing site, the budget equates to roughly $37,000; more than half of which will be covered by the previously mentioned NEA grant.