Glenwood voters being asked to authorize Municipal Operations Center sale in April election

An example of foundation damage at the Glenwood Springs Municipal Operations Center in West Glenwood.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The city is aiming to get the failing Municipal Operations Center off its hands through a ballot in front of the voters right now.

Constructed in 2002, the Municipal Operations Center previously housed the city’s electric, fleet, parks, streets and special works activities team departments.

Over the years, however, the less than 20-year-old facility has deteriorated quickly. So much, in fact, that all five departments have since relocated due to employee safety concerns.

“Numerous attempts and millions of dollars have been spent to try to save that building,” Mayor Jonathan Godes said. “But at some point, you are throwing good money after bad.”

If approved by voters, Ballot Question A would authorize the city to sell or otherwise convey its interest in the 19-acre Municipal Operations Center property and access road along Wulfsohn Road.

Ballots were mailed out this week for the city’s special election set to be held on April 14.

In 2011, city employees noticed the Municipal Operations Center was under settlement distress and engineers were brought in to determine mitigation measures.

Significant and costly grouting operations were completed in 2014, but the building continued to move “even along the sections that were grouted” according to a previous city council staff report.

“It’s unsuitable and unsafe for human occupation of any kind,” Godes said.

Last year, city council unanimously approved purchasing the former McCandless Truck Center located at 2222 Devereux Road for $2 million to house the fleet, streets, and special works activities team departments.

Additionally, the Parks Department has since relocated to a facility on Soccer Field Road and the electric department to offices in West Glenwood.

Public Works Director Matthew Langhorst said the city hardly utilizes the Municipal Operations Center other than for storage.

In the past, RFTA has expressed interest in acquiring the city-owned property.

“RFTA is still interested in purchasing the (Glenwood Springs Municipal Operations Center),” RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship said Thursday. “We are developing a plan to expand our maintenance facility onto the city’s property.”

In September, RFTA provided the city with a non-binding letter of interest that included $1.2 million for the property and $60,000 for the access road leading to it.

RFTA Chief Operating Officer Kurt Ravenschlag said that upon further consideration and subject to a successful closing, RFTA has also proposed up to $200,000 for river walk trail improvements in Glenwood Springs.

However, ahead of any such transactions, voters must authorize the city to sell the property first.

City Clerk Catherine Fletcher said approximately 5,000 ballots had been mailed to Glenwood Springs residents.

Fletcher said ballots would not be accepted in person at city hall as the facility remains closed.

Residents are encouraged to mail their ballots in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, if needed, residents may drop ballots off in the county’s gray box in front of the courthouse, Fletcher said.

Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. April 14.

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