City of Glenwood purchases Western Petroleum Property for $250K |

City of Glenwood purchases Western Petroleum Property for $250K

The old Western Petroleum site in Glenwood Springs. The city has an offer on the table to purchase the property for $250,000. Matthew Bennett / Post Independent

The city of Glenwood Springs’ interest in removing a gasoline storage facility from downtown and some residents’ desire to move a recycling center back to Glenwood could soon come together.

On Jan. 16, city council directed staff to initiate the purchase of a liquidated Western Petroleum property in the heart of Glenwood Springs for $250,000.

Councilors Steve Davis, Charlie Willman, Paula Stepp, Rick Voorhees and Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup voted in favor of the purchase. Mayor Jonathan Godes and councilor Tony Hershey voted against it.

The city officially closed on the property Friday.

Located at 1300 Pitkin Avenue, at the intersection of 13th and School Street, the Western Petroleum property will be vetted as a potential municipal recycling center site.

“It is a good first step for going forward to achieve the promises made by the prior [city councils] to bring the recycle center back to town,” Councilor Steve Davis said. “If in fact it turns out the public still desires that outcome.”

In 2015, city voters approved a plan to sell or trade the former recycling center’s site to the Roaring Fork School District to accommodate Glenwood Springs Elementary School’s expansion and renovation project.

The city, in return, took ownership of the 6.1-acre Vogelaar Park at 915 School St. near the confluence. The 2017 Confluence Redevelopment Plan envisions Vogelaar Park as a “walkable, mixed-income neighborhood.”

The city looked at other sites to potentially house the city’s recycling center such as the Glenwood Springs Airport and the wastewater treatment facility.

However, the South Canyon Landfill was determined to be the most cost effective location, and the in-town recycling center was moved to the South Canyon Landfill in 2017.

Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup said she favored in-town recycling at the former Western Petroleum site.

“The city has worked to improve its recycling and composting programs, and the return of an in-town collection site would strengthen those operations,” Kaup said. “I am so pleased that the property was improved from a safety standpoint, and environmental cleanup.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) certified the liquidated Western Petroleum property as clear of all hazardous waste material in their view.

Mayor Jonathan Godes said he supported having an in-town recycling center, but could not support the purchase at this time.

For Godes the decision was premature. However, a majority of council did not share that view.

“We haven’t had the conversation on the cost of moving in. We haven’t had a conversation with any of the neighbors,” Godes said. “To talk about this property as a potential recycling site is so speculative at this point.”

The $250,000 purchase price will come out of the city’s landfill fund.

According to Public Works Director Matthew Langhorst, when the city relocated the in-town recycle center to the landfill, approximately 7 miles away, the city experienced a 50% drop in the amount of recycling materials collected.

“Over time the amount of materials has come back up to approximately a 20% drop in materials from the in-town volumes,” Langhorst said.

Councilman Davis said a public comment process and further planning for the possible relocation of the recycle center would occur.

“This property appears to be what could end up being a very appropriate property for bringing the recycle center back to Glenwood,” Davis said.

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