Cops honored, Copp’s pleased at City Hall grand opening |

Cops honored, Copp’s pleased at City Hall grand opening

A large plume of smoke could be seen Thursday evening from throughout the Glenwood Springs downtown core. But this time, instead of wreaking destruction, the fire was fueling a festive atmosphere.

The smoke was emanating from a large barbecue grill parked on 8th Street in front of the brand spankin’ new Glenwood Springs City Hall. Upon it burgers and hot dogs were sizzled as part of the grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting for the new building.

“This is a real festive occasion for us,” city manager Mike Copp said, later saying that the morale of the city’s employees “has increased by 100 percent.”

Hundreds of folks from all over gathered to watch the grand opening of Glenwood Springs’ $6 million, three-story edifice.

The grand opening was a lot like the opening at the Community Center, but warmer. A three-piece band played in the courtyard, politicians were kissing babies and the general populace clamored for a free meal.

City Hall is the third major building to be opened during the city’s propitious past year, with Mayor Don Vanderhoof making quick work of the red ribbon by deftly trimming it with the city’s mammoth pair of gold scissors created for just such an occasion.

New signage for the building was also up and gleaming in the late-afternoon sun, announcing that the new civic headquarters is located at 101 W. 8th St.

As the pomp and ceremony began, several of Glenwood Springs’ finest stood as they were given awards for their actions during the Aug. 5 mudslides at Mitchell Creek.

Mayor Vanderhoof then brought up the past and present City Council members involved in making the new City Hall a reality. As usual, former Mayor Sam Skramstad had some sage words to pass down to the current members of council.

“My condolences go out to the group that’s left behind – you have to pay for it,” he joked.

A surprise announcement then came from Garfield County Commission Chairman John Martin that ran counter to the commission’s former stance. He said they would allow some trees to be planted in the common area in front of the jail and between City Hall and Garfield County Courthouse.

The tentative plan, he said, is to plant one tree per year on Arbor Day until they run out of room.

“We’ll go ahead and do that and work together, improving our friendship and our working relationship,” Martin said.

Pat Sydell, the city’s construction representative who seemingly has been at the City Hall for much of his life during the last six months, was also given recognition by Vanderhoof.

After the ceremony was over, two things happened: Some wandered into the new building to see firsthand all the technological improvements, nice views and vast spaces. At the same time, the rest of the folks rushed to get in line for the free hamburgers, hot dogs, drinks and ice cream like it was an Old West land grab.

Members of the council toiled in the clouds of thick smoke, spatulas flipping faster than the cards at a Las Vegas blackjack table. According to this reporter, who had one hot dog, one hamburger, some cole slaw, potato chips and a Pepsi, they did a fine job.

“This is the first time I’ve ever handled a grill this big,” Councilman Dan Richardson said. “But I never told the voters I was a good cook, so they can’t complain about it now.”

One could tell by the way Councilman Don “Hooner” Gillespie flipped the burgers and dogs that he had run the show at a family reunion or two.

“Dan is the neophyte,” Hooner said with a knowing grin.

Another council freshman, Larry Emery, smartly stayed out of their way.

“Never stand in the way of a true professional,” he said.

Each expressed their appreciation to the voters for approving the money to finance the beautiful new structure.

The buildings designers, Jim Bothwell and Joe Ward from OZ Architecture, were also on hand to take part in the dedication.

“We’re pleased with how it came out,” Bothwell said.

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