Confluence strategy gets nod from P&Z
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval Tuesday for the city’s confluence area redevelopment strategy. The plan aims to create an overall plan for the redevelopment of the “underdeveloped sub-area” west of downtown along the east bank of the Roaring Fork River, from 11th Street to the point where it flows into the Colorado River. “It’s not a neighborhood, it’s just another piece of downtown,” confluence planner Leslie Bethel told the planning commission. “We see it as being a gathering place.”The plan has been in the works since 1999.Some of the strategy’s main objectives include moving the wastewater treatment plant, improving river access and public open space, building an 8th Street entrance into downtown from the west, creating a mixed-use business park, building a transit center, and encouraging development of a riverview restaurant and a theater. “We actually thought there is some opportunity for a theater on a couple of sites,” Bethel said. “It would be a great addition to downtown to have some additional culture.”If the wastewater treatment plant is moved, as is tentatively planned, to the Cardnell Ranch, the site could be “capped” and turned into a confluence park. Bethel said capping the plant site is a lower-cost alternative to completely cleaning up the site and is acceptable for sites that are to be used as public parks. “People want to see the confluence area have more open space,” Bethel said. “It’s going to be an area for us to be able to come together as a community.”Another aspect of the plan is the possible construction of a multi-level parking structure within a slightly relocated railroad wye. “If a parking garage goes in, the wye could stay,” Bethel said. Further south, the plan shows the Butler Rents site possibly becoming a restaurant site. Further upriver along the Roaring Fork, single-family and multi-family housing could be developed. Planning and Zoning Commission member Joan Baldwin liked the idea of putting a theater in the confluence area. “I love the idea for the theater there, and I hear a lot of people tell me they’re excited about it,” she said. Moving Highway 82 was also brought up, but no final route has yet been determined. “We didn’t want to turn this into a referendum on highway placement,” community development director Andrew McGregor said. In a sense, confluence redevelopment has already begun with the relocation of the county shops, the construction of a public parking area near the wastewater treatment plant and the addition of Defiance Avenue near City Hall.It’s now up to City Council whether the rest of the proposed strategy moves forward. “I really think its job isn’t to be the jewel of downtown, it’s to add,” Bethel said of the confluence area. “You have to make sure it’s a complement.”Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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