DDA director, Leslie Bethel, announces retirement | PostIndependent.com

DDA director, Leslie Bethel, announces retirement

Leslie Bethel
Natalia Mills

Glenwood Springs’ Downtown Development Authority has announced the retirement of Executive Director Leslie Bethel. Bethel took on the role in 2010, however, her portfolio of work in Glenwood dates back to the 1990s.

Bethel was involved with the 1998 Downtown Design Standards and 1999 Glenwood Springs Downtown Plan. Her work in the private sector included the Glenwood Meadows master development plan.

According to a statement from the DDA board, Bethel played an integral role in preserving Glenwood’s past, but at the same time envisioning its future.

“Leslie has been a strong advocate of transformational projects in downtown,” Glenwood Springs Mayor Michael Gamba said in a press release.

“Her stewardship has helped guide the DDA and city to deliver projects that raise the bar and reflect the context of our historical downtown,” he said. “One of her greatest strengths has been the ability to create partnerships and take a plan from the visioning phase to implementation.

“There is not a corner of the DDA boundary that hasn’t been influenced by Leslie’s design contribution, passion and determination to see the long-range vision for downtown,” Gamba added.

Bethel graduated from Cornell College and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. The DDA under her leadership earned the Governor’s Top Award for Downtown Excellence.

While Bethel’s departure comes at a critical time as it pertains to Glenwood’s downtown development, city leaders said she leaves the DDA equipped to continue taking on the Seventh Street beautification project as well the Sixth Street redevelopment, and numerous other enhancement plans already in the works.

“Leslie’s extensive urban and design experience, innate design talent, sensitivity to Glenwood’s culture, effective management skills, was a winning combination for Glenwood Springs,” City Councilor Steve Davis, whose Ward 1 includes part of the downtown area, said in the release.

“As director of the DDA, I was focused on strengthening and enhancing the downtown experience through infrastructure, beautification, pedestrian connections, maintaining views and river corridors,” Bethel said. “This also means maintaining continuity in design through the district.

“The Grand Avenue Bridge design was largely influenced by the role the DDA took in the design process and partnerships to achieve an appropriate contextual design,” she explained.

The DDA board, which is appointed by City Council, will be in charge of searching for and hiring a new executive director.


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