City helps pave the way for trail, whitewater park and theater |

City helps pave the way for trail, whitewater park and theater

Christmas is coming three months early for local whitewater, bicycling and theater enthusiasts, thanks to Glenwood Springs City Council.Council is poised to approve a 2007 budget that includes $300,000 allocations toward a whitewater park and performing arts center, and $250,000 to help fund a trail between West Glenwood and South Canyon.Council’s action will be a major step toward construction of the trail and the whitewater park, and is intended to serve as a sign of commitment to the longer-term idea of building a theater facility. Council held a budget hearing Thursday and is scheduled to approve the budget in an upcoming meeting.Larry Dragon, executive director of the Lower Valley Trails Group, or LoVa, thanked council for its commitment to the trail project.”This really does help us, this additional expenditure for next year,” he said.Whitewater park task force member Brian Wright said park enthusiasts are thrilled by the city’s plans to help out.”We’re very happy and excited about the project. It’s been a long time coming for some of us,” he said.During a budget work session Thursday, the theater funds were added at the urging of council members Larry Beckwith and David Merritt. The theater has been a longtime dream for some Glenwood residents, and voters even approved a minor amount of funding for it years ago. However, it has taken a back seat to other amenities such as the Community Center and pool, and Beckwith and Merritt fear that it could continue to be pushed aside as other worthy projects are proposed for funding.”They kind of get jump-started over something that was already promised,” Beckwith said.The city this year created a committee to look into the feasibility of building and operating a theater. Council hopes it can make further contributions to the theater in future years to begin building up a reserve to fund construction.Both the trail and whitewater park projects have been confronting increasing cost estimates. The LoVa project, once estimated to cost less than $2 million, now could cost $3 million. Dragon said the project is about to go out for bid, and then LoVa will have a better sense of what it can afford. One possibility is to build a hard trail as far as possible, and then an unpaved portion the rest of the way that can be paved later when more funds are found.Whitewater park enthusiasts had asked the city for $600,000 over two years to help fund a $1.4 million project. While council isn’t committing to that, at least for now, Wright said the $300,000 can be used as leverage in trying to obtain funding from other sources.”If they see the city is already on board, that’s going to be huge,” he said.The task force could build the park in phases, putting in the whitewater feature first and adding associated amenities later. The park will be built on the Colorado River in West Glenwood.The 2007 budget also provides for Community Center upgrades that include an additional tennis court, completion of a tot lot, and landscaping. The budget also provides for more aggressive maintenance of the facility.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515,ext.

In other action Thursday, City Council: Provided a conceptual review of a plan by the owner of the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise on Pine Street to tear down the 35-year-old building there and construct a new one on its foundation. The site is across from the Hotel Colorado, and council members asked that developers try to make the new building mesh with the historical nature of the neighborhood. Council member Larry Beckwith suggested that one way to do that would be to eliminate one of the two large Colonel Sanders depictions planned for the outside walls of the new building. Heard a conceptual proposal to develop the last two multiple-family tracts of the Cardiff Glen project in south Glenwood. One of the lots will include 13 townhomes and four single-family homes, and the other will consist of 40 townhomes and two homes. Developers said the pricing will generally be in the mid-$200,000 range, with some 500-square-foot studio units starting closer to $200,000.

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