City goes `shop’-ping, will buy county site county site |

City goes `shop’-ping, will buy county site county site

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The land beneath the old Garfield County Road and Bridge shop on School Street could, itself, someday become a road and a bridge platform.

On Monday, the city of Glenwood Springs posted a 10 percent down payment of $60,000 to Garfield County, according to Glenwood Springs city manager Mike Copp.

The action secures another key piece of property along the east side of the Roaring Fork River as city officials seek to gain ownership from the confluence to 23rd Street.

The 2.1-acre parcel is located at 1015 School St., between the White River National Forest shops and Glenwood Springs Elementary School. It’s largely vacant, but there are a few old metal buildings that will be razed. The county shop was moved to 902 Taughenbaugh Blvd. in Rifle last year.

This parcel’s transformation would be part of the city’s ultimate plan to relocate Highway 82 to the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority rail corridor. The project would divert much of the pass-through traffic and allow the city to reclaim Grand Avenue as a city street.

That new route, which would be many years away, would hug the east side of the Roaring Fork River, cross the river at some point in the confluence area, and connect to West Midland Avenue.

In the meantime, Copp said the old county shops property could be designated for all-day parking to offset the coming of two-hour parking limitations on downtown city streets.

City officials have been pondering since 1999 whether to purchase the property, City Councilman Don Gillespie said. But an offer tendered March 18 by an unidentified buyer forced the city’s hand.

According to a prior agreement with Garfield County, the city had the right of first refusal, allowing it to match any offer made on the property, as long as it was done within 10 days. A letter penned to the city by Garfield County manager Ed Green informed the city it would have until 5 p.m. Friday to match the March 18 offer.

Rather than waiting until the last minute, city officials OK’d matching the $600,000 offer for the property, and gave the down payment check to Garfield County on Monday.

“They sent us a check for 10 percent of the offer,” Green confirmed Tuesday.

One problem that could have hindered the sale was soil contamination from years of county vehicle maintenance and repair.

However, Ed Baltzer, general manager for Walsh Environmental LLC of Grand Junction, said the soil contains some oil and grease. Compared to other similarly used sites, the county shop was relatively clean.

“A waste oil tank leaked and there was some soil contamination,” Baltzer said. “But everything else checked out OK.”

Once authorized, the remainder of the cleanup should take about two weeks and consist of about two dumptruck loads of dirt, he said.

Once the site is gets a clean bill of health from Walsh Environmental, Copp said, the city will fully purchase the land.

The $60,000 down payment came out of the city’s general fund surpluses, Copp said.

He hopes to borrow the remaining $540,000 from a State Infrastructure Bank loan through the Colorado Department of Transportation. Such loans are furnished by CDOT at a 2 percent annual interest rate.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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