Council rejects accelerated GAPP plan |

Council rejects accelerated GAPP plan

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – City Council rejected a proposal Wednesday that would have accelerated the timeline for the Grand Avenue Paving Project. The proposal, which would have shortened GAPP’s total work time by about two months, was nixed in an early morning City Council meeting by a vote of 6-1. “We’re totally prepared to proceed with the one that’s on the books,” said Dick Brasher, general manager of Concrete Works of Colorado, the contractor hired to do the paving project. Brasher recently submitted his faster plan to the city and to the Colorado Department of Transportation – the agency in charge of the Highway 82 portion of Grand Avenue- that would have allowed his company to finish the project on Dec. 13. In all, the project would have taken 412 months. A vocal group of downtown retail merchants opposed the plan because it would have eliminated parking and closed portions of Grand Avenue downtown during September and October, both of which are considered moderately busy months for retailers. City Councilwoman Chris McGovern said 17.3 percent of all downtown business is done during those two months. The originally approved plan calls for construction to be separated into two major parts. The first part will last from Sept. 7 through Dec. 2, and the second part will last from Feb. 2 through May 12. The downtown core will be paved during the latter part. After Brasher gave a presentation that compared the accelerated plan with the original plan, several downtown retailers spoke to council. “I really think this is really going to hurt businesses downtown,” said Cheryl Guay, owner of Jewels and Gems. “I’m still catching up with last year.”Summit Canyon Mountaineering owner Steve Davis said he wanted to see council approve the accelerated schedule. “Even though there’s never a good time to do this, we are fully prepared to swallow this pill with the accelerated schedule,” he said. Other retailers, including downtown resident and business owner Joni Weir, echoed Guay’s concerns about the newly proposed schedule. “The fourth quarter is what retail lives and dies on,” Weir said. “Please don’t interrupt our fourth quarter again; our businesses just can’t afford it.”The majority of council members took the downtown retailers’ words to heart and voted to stay with the original plan. “I think we need to respectfully thank the contractor for his innovation but suggest we continue with the original schedule,” Councilman Dave Merritt said. Mayor Larry Emery was the lone dissenter in the seven-member vote. He suggested that people might regret extending the project longer than it needs to go. “Sometimes you get what you ask for … Instead of August through December, it will be September through December, then February through May. It’s going to be tore up all fall, then it’ll be tore up all spring, and we’ll be constructing the Eighth and Midland intersection,” Emery said. After the meeting, Brasher said he’s fine with council’s vote to stay with the original plan. “I was just trying to get it done in less time,” he said. “We’re prepared to do it the way it was laid out. I think Larry (Emery) stated it well: We’re going to be here until next May.”Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext.

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