Glenwood City Council rejects current ‘north landing’ ideas | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood City Council rejects current ‘north landing’ ideas

Pedestrians, wheeled and otherwise, pass at the north end of the Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge, next to the former highway bridge landing that will one day be redeveloped once Glenwood Springs officials receive a likeable plan.
John Stroud | Post Independent

With the Grand Avenue Bridge project construction now in its final phase, what will become of the north landing site where the previous bridge descended onto Sixth Street remains in question.

As previously reported by the Post Independent, a formal Request For Proposals was put forth and generated three ideas for what’s now city-owned land and a key part of the Sixth Street redevelopment master plan.

Previous proposals included a 250-person outdoor amphitheater submitted by Riviera Supper Club owner Jonathan Gorst; what was described as a “multi-functional, outdoor destination space,”proposed by a team of designers working with the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool; and a public plaza, opera house, museum, farmers market, roof top restaurant, and residential and office space plan presented by a group of area architects including David Brown and Doug Pratte.

“I think we all kind of liked one of those responses, except then we later learned that the response really wasn’t for development but was just more for design,” Mayor Gamba said of the Brown/Pratte proposal that had risen to the top.

At the May 3 Council meeting, Councilor Rick Voorhees moved to reject all of the development proposals received in response to the initial RFP for the site. The motion passed unanimously, with one council member, Steve Davis, absent.

“We have issues with parking that we need to address, and I think it would also be good for us to think about what we would actually like on that site and have a more defined RFP process,” City Manager Debra Figueroa explained. “The north landing site obviously isn’t going to be developed by June 30. The plan from [the Colorado Department of Transportation] is to have grass there and nine trees.”

However, planting nine trees in the area did not sit well with the council, as, in all likelihood, they would need removal once a permanent, viable development for the site is adopted. The mayor also expressed concerns over grass being put in and the site turning into a de facto gathering area.

“I’ve been pondering how to make that not happen,” City Attorney Karl Hanlon told the mayor. “Our charter says, ‘park or governmental purpose,’ and it’s not the intent of council to have it be used long term as a park or for other governmental purposes. The intent of council is that it be developed as part of the redevelopment of Sixth Street.”

City staff now has been tasked with drafting a new RFP, which, this time around, would make clear that parking would not be a requirement in any forthcoming proposals.

The current land-use development code, which is in the process of being revised, mandates on-site parking facilities for development. An overhauled version of the code, which has been in the works since 2016, has an anticipated roll-out date of mid-August, and is likely to include new, less-stringent parking requirements.

For the Sixth Street area, the city and private interests have also discussed possibilities for a central public parking structure of some sort, similar to the one on the other side of the bridge at Ninth and Cooper.

“The new development code as it is currently being drafted includes changes in terms of dimensional standards, definitions (such as how building height is calculated), tweaks to definitions for types of uses, changes to the development process and alternatives to providing on-site parking,” Assistant City Manager Jennifer Ooton stated.

“We will begin drafting the RFP now, for release following the adoption of the development code,” she said.

Once the new RFP comes out, developers will once again have the opportunity to submit their proposals for the north landing site.