Garfield County calls for talks on Seventh Street parking lot |

Garfield County calls for talks on Seventh Street parking lot

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Local governments have been working for more than a month expanding two downtown parking lots. Progress on one lot may be delayed while Garfield County and the city of Glenwood Springs sort out a development plan.

One site, at the corner of Eighth and Pitkin, is entirely owned by the county government. It lies across Pitkin from the county administration building and across Eighth from City Hall. It’s being expanded to the south onto property where two houses were recently demolished.

The other site, at the southeast corner of Seventh and Colorado, may face some delay in an effort to develop the lot in a unified approach. Owned half by the county and half by the city, it’s being expanded to the east onto what has been for some years a vacant lot, and was formerly an old house occupied by a bail bond business.

The two expansion projects, with other parking-related moves, will at least partially relieve a parking crunch in downtown Glenwood Springs.

A new contributor to that crunch is the loss of a 116-space all-day parking lot on Seventh, adjacent to the city’s existing wastewater treatment facility. Half that lot has been permanently given over to a lift station for the city’s new wastewater plant under construction in West Glenwood.

The other half is also closed to serve as a temporary staging area for the lift station construction. When the project is complete, the parking lot will reopen next year with 64 spaces, according to city public works director Robin Millyard.

In the meantime, the city created a temporary, 92-space public parking lot at 10th and School Street, just north of the city’s recycling center.

Motorists can also use a graveled lot at the west end of Eighth Street, west of City Hall.

The Eighth and Pitkin lot is being expanded to accommodate more parking for county government employees. In creating additional off-street parking for county workers, the Garfield Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) hope to free up on-street parking for the general public.

As the lot exists now, the southern row of parking spaces are reserved for county employees, while the northern row of spaces, fronting on Eighth Street, is reserved for public parking.

The additional parking created by the demolition of the two houses will be reserved parking for county employees.

The county is now preparing the newly cleared ground for paving and striping to create one large parking lot.

Work on the lot expansion at Seventh and Colorado, where the county and city governments hold 50-50 ownership stake, may take longer.

The matter came up at Monday’s BOCC meeting, as the commissioners discussed the ongoing progress of the two parking lot expansion projects.

The plan originally was to maintain that joint ownership on the corner lot, but at least one county commissioner is having second thoughts.

“If we’re going to take care of it, we need to own it totally,” said Commissioner Mike Samson.

The BOCC called a halt to paving work while they pow-wow with City Council members. At issue is who will own the finished parking lot, and appropriate timing of the redesign, re-engineering and paving of the entire space.

Garfield County Public Works Director Betsy Suerth suggested crews should continue grading and paving the expanded portion of the parking lot.

Once that half is finished, the plan has been to redesign and either restripe or repave the small existing lot at the corner, then do whatever is necessary to join the lot parking lots into one. That may require tearing up some of the paving on one side or the other.

“That’s what I’m trying to avoid. You’re going to destroy what you’ve already done,” said Commissioner John Martin, if the two halves of the parking area are not redesigned and paved at the same time.

County Manager Ed Green questioned whether there is enough time left in the summer to accommodate meetings with the city and to get the overall lot redesigned, approved by the city and finished before the end of the construction season.

The BOCC opted to halt the paving and request a meeting with city officials , while moving ahead to finish the expanded lot at Eighth and Pitkin.

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