Glenwood seeking qualified developers to pitch confluence ideas
The confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers qualifies as one of Glenwood Springs’ most prized possessions, city officials and residents alike tend to agree.
Now, the city has officially put out the call for qualified developers to pitch some ideas for redeveloping the coveted area.
At its Feb. 21 meeting, Glenwood City Council unanimously approved the Moving Forward Together U.S. EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Plan. While the word “plan” appeared in that resolution, councilors assured the public that by no means were any plans set in stone for the confluence site — yet.
“This is kind of a guiding document … that would give somebody who we might choose through this [Request for Qualifications] process the ability to have a lot of good information before they start with nothing,” Councilor Todd Leahy said at the meeting.
The Area-Wide Plan was funded primarily by a $200,000 EPA grant.
“Everything in here is up for interpretation … this is going to be a public-private deal, so it is going to be a long vetting process,” Leahy added.
The plan focuses heavily on the city’s 5-acre former wastewater treatment plant site, the 27-acre former limestone quarry site in North Glenwood, known as the Holly Quarry, and the active Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) engineering/maintenance center near Devereux Road.
“It really looks at development yield — where buildings could be placed, how those buildings would be placed in the environment, and really just focuses on the connection of downtown toward the river,” said Jennifer Ooton, Glenwood Springs’ director economic and community development, in a separate interview Tuesday.
The city put out the RFQ last Friday to find a “visionary development partner,” who would participate in the city’s efforts to develop the approximately 12 acres of land south of the Colorado River and east of the Roaring Fork.
“I just don’t want the public to think that we are locked into something here that is actually going to get built. But, it has been a great exercise in what the possibilities are, and gives somebody a kind of cheat sheet to go forward,” Councilor Steve Davis said at the Feb. 21 meeting.
Now, a 90-day window opens for the RFQ, which has a response deadline of May 22.
“I think closer to home, what they have done in Salida or Buena Vista are examples that what we ought to look at and consider,” City Councilor Jim Ingraham said Tuesday. “Not that we would copy them, but they have done a good job in those places, I think, with principles of how to incorporate the river into the developments they have built there.”
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.