Glenwood City Council candidate Q&A: Russ Arensman
Editor’s note: The Post Independent will run question & answer articles from the Glenwood Springs City Council through this week. The Candidates are: Bruce Christensen, Shelley Kaup, Russ Arensman, David Blazier, David SturgesName: Russ ArensmanAge: 50Birthplace: DenverOccupation: Public relations writer
Years in Glenwood Springs: 10Running for: Ward 1, which includes the Red Mountain and Cowdin neighborhoods, Midland Avenue south to 27th Street, and the downtown area west of Grand Avenue between Seventh Street and the high school. Running unopposed.Why do you want to be on City Council? This community has been a great place for my family and me. I want to give something back, and help keep this a great place to live.What would you hope to accomplish by being on City Council? I hope to provide ideas and leadership to help the city address challenges like affordable housing, and to begin thinking about what we want to become over the next 50 years. What do you like to do in your spare time? Run, bike, ski, backpack, watch movies and hang out with my family.Name three important issues facing Glenwood Springs: We need less traffic, more affordable housing and more renewable energy use and production.What jobs or experiences would lend themselves to your success on City Council? I spent many years as a journalist covering local governments, and have been an active, informed participant in local issues for the past decade.
Have you been involved in any government positions or community leadership positions before? I served four years on the city’s planning and zoning commission, am now on the city’s energy efficiency commission and also have served on several school accountability committees and nonprofit group boards. What are your thoughts on a Highway 82 bypass? Glenwood taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for solving regional traffic problems, and as the era of cheap gas comes to an end we should be cautious about extrapolating current transportation trends. We also need to think very carefully before sacrificing the Roaring Fork River corridor, or other neighborhoods, to build a Grand Avenue bypass that may provide only short-term relief.Would you support condemning private land to use for public trails? Condemnation should be a last resort, but the long-planned Hager Lane trail will not displace adjoining residents, nor prevent them from enjoying their property. It will provide an important connection for south Glenwood.Does the municipal airport serve a valuable purpose or should the space be considered for other uses? It is a valuable asset, but it conflicts with surrounding land uses. Considering the scarcity of developable land in our valley, it will inevitably become more valuable for other purposes.What do you think of the latest version of Glenwood Springs High School? I love the modern, well-lit, spacious classrooms, and look forward to seeing the new theater and gym. It could have used better sound insulation, though, and I suspect we missed some energy-efficiency opportunities.How would you like to see the remaining land at Glenwood Meadows developed? It should stick largely to the plans approved five years ago by the community and council. We were promised a diverse, high-quality mixed-use neighborhood with homes, offices, hospitality and entertainment, as well as retail.
What’s the most important thing to keep in mind with redevelopment plans for the confluence area? We need to preserve and enhance public access to the rivers, reserve the option of mass transit on the rail corridor, encourage pedestrian use and create opportunities for a mix of public and private development that allows people to come downtown, get out of their cars and enjoy the beauty of the two rivers.What can the city do to develop workforce housing and how can it be accomplished in light of the fact that other types of development will often net more money? The city needs to partner with other public and private entities to increase the supply of affordable housing for rent and purchase. We should become more active players by contributing money, effort and land where appropriate. We must get comfortable with higher density, taller buildings and more diverse neighborhoods. We also should offer employers incentives to provide employee housing and ask commercial developers to contribute to affordable housing. What’s the best thing about Glenwood Springs? The people and the rivers.The worst? The traffic and pollution.Who is the greatest historical figure and why? For my generation it was President John F. Kennedy, who challenged us to be better citizens by asking not what our country could do for us, but what we could do for our country.Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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