Glenwood to float kayak park plan before GOCO |

Glenwood to float kayak park plan before GOCO

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – City Council gave the go-ahead to city staffers Thursday to put together a Great Outdoors Colorado grant application for a whitewater park in the heart of the city.

Community Development Department director Andrew McGregor told council during a work session on the proposed park the GOCO application deadline is just one month away. Council members urged him to forge ahead with the application, but let them review it before it’s sent out.

“I totally support the concept of a kayak park,” Councilman Larry Emery said. “I see this as a key part of building our tourist infrastructure.”

The project, estimated to cost around $1 million, could stretch from the Grand Avenue Bridge to Two Rivers Park on the Colorado River and include a stretch on the Roaring Fork River at its confluence with the Colorado River.

According to whitewater park builders Gary Lacy of Boulder and Mike Harvey of Salida, a GOCO grant would require a 30 percent match by the city, 20 percent of which must be in cash.

They also said gathering numerous local letters of support is critical to win a GOCO grant.

While Councilman Dave Merritt has voiced support for such a park, he was uneasy about the coming deadline.

“I’m concerned we’re really rushing this thing,” he said.

McGregor said a month should be enough time.

Some of the letters of support could be sought from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, McGregor said. These entities are interested in a Glenwood Springs whitewater park because it could cut down on the overcrowding of their facilities upstream on the Colorado.

“I think it has the potential of doing wonderful things for the community,” Councilman Rick Davis said.

Lacy and Harvey said community volunteers donating labor and equipment, and locating large rocks nearby, could save the city thousands of dollars.

The duo presented the plan to council using slides, conceptual drawings and stories from past parks they’ve built.

“Community support and in-kind donations are important for such a project,” Lacy said.

So far, the park has enjoyed support from city leaders, whitewater enthusiasts and others. Few have publicly opposed putting in such a park.

The plan includes five “drop pools,” which are areas where the flow of water is concentrated into a point and drops one to two feet, creating whitewater.

It also includes placing large, round boulders into the river to create waves, deflectors to change the flow of the river and plans to create better access to the north side of the river.

The plan divides the park’s construction into three phases. The first phase, which would include the most upstream features, would include a drop pool at the current “Hot Pots” site, two bank deflectors and other drops at the confluence area. The second phase has three “current deflectors,” and several rocks in the main part of the river, and includes some major bank restoration. The third phase includes some deflectors and improvements to the island near Devereux Bridge. In all, Lacy and Harvey estimate the park will cost $990,000.

The phases could be built all in a row or one at a time and the city could decide exactly how much of the plan it wants to implement.

While doing the bank improvements, Lacy and Harvey would also remove the noxious weed tamarisk, which has grown into a problem along that part of the river.

Other existing problems with the river, such as the unsightly area where the Hot Springs Pool water empties into the river and where there is a large rectangular piece of concrete in the water, would be cleaned up and incorporated into the park.

The concrete piece would become a deflector, a feature that pushes the current in another direction, and the outflow from the pool would flow out of the most upstream drop pool structure.

The centerpiece of the park would be built around the pedestrian bridge that overlooks the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers.

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