Council backs plan to let downtown sparkle year-round
Downtown Glenwood Springs could take on a more festive look year-round under a proposal that earned support from City Council Thursday.Council has agreed to support having the city work with the Downtown Business Association on a plan to illuminate the city’s central core with “twinkle lights” throughout the year rather than just over the holidays.The idea would require a variance from the city’s Board of Adjustments. City code prohibits holiday lights from being left up more than 60 days.The DBA first proposed the idea, but the city would have to apply for the variance in areas that are in public rights of way. Council agreed Thursday to proceed with that application. The DBA would need to seek the variance for lights on private property.Supporters say the lights would add to downtown’s visual appeal at night and improve its safety. City Council member Dave Merritt said he thinks they make the area look more inviting to motorists coming off the Grand Avenue Bridge.Council member Chris McGovern said the city had put in additional electrical service downtown during previous construction work with the promise of the lights being put in trees. But she also said the year-round lights should somehow differ from those put up over the holidays.”It shouldn’t look like leftover Christmas,” she said.She also would like to see the lights turned off late at night.Council member Kris Chadwick said it also would be good to explore lighting up downtown alleys.While voting with others on council in proceeding with the idea, Mayor Bruce Christensen noted that a group that worked on the city’s lighting ordinance years ago had struggled with the question of allowing holiday lights to remain up year-round.City manager Jeff Hecksel also said leaving lights up in trees could threaten their health. City staff members plan to work with the DBA to determine the best location for the lights.
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Glenwood Springs Police Chief Joseph Deras lamented his department’s inability to maintain a constant presence downtown during a virtual public forum Monday night.