Glenwood working to address poor parks conditions
From gaining better traction along trails and perking up existing parks, Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation hopes more funds will pour its way in an effort to clean up poor parts of land and facilities the department is charged with overseeing.
“Gregory Park has a port-o-let, a porta-potty on site, that is kind of permanently there as the restroom. It’s almost … embarrassing as a community to have these parks in such poor condition,” Parks and Recreation Director Brian Smith said.
According to Smith, many of the city’s smaller parks, such as Axtell, Centennial, Gregory and Sister Lucy, still see a lot of foot traffic in the form of special events, school physical education classes and regular, everyday park users.
Even Glenwood’s larger parks, like Two Rivers, home to the Glenwood Springs Summer of Music and summer softball and baseball leagues, and Sayre, which hosts the community’s annual Strawberry Days Festival, also need substantial work, according to Smith.
“Just the amount of use of those and just how old some of the lighting and the irrigation systems … the old ball field, dugout and grandstand at Sayre … a lot of those things are in major need of upgrades,” Smith explained. “The restrooms at both those parks need to completely be redone.”
The condition of Glenwood’s parks, and other Parks and Recreation concerns, will be the subject of a morning work session with City Council on Thursday.
Smith also described how Veltus, one of Glenwood’s most heavily used parks, gets hammered with the amount of users it sees as well.
However, while parks may not necessarily take precedent in terms of funding, particularly with other numerous infrastructure projects already looming over the city, the parks and recreation director sounded optimistic in terms of future park upgrades.
“Like many municipalities, Glenwood Springs has slowly come out of a recession and we’re just now kind of getting to a point where we’re kind of getting our feet under us,” Smith said. “We’re able to take care of some of these larger infrastructure projects and we’re starting to ease the pileup of projects that need attention.”
Outside of funding, Smith acknowledged other resources, in particular the scientific expertise on the River Commission and its members’ willingness to work in conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Commission. That can come in handy, especially with the city’s trail systems that run along the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers.
“Especially as we talk about riparian vegetation, stabilizing vegetation and the health of the river system and making sure that, as projects are done in parks and along trail systems, anything in proximity to the river…. we have some incredibly knowledgeable and gifted commissioners on that River Commission,” Smith said.
One possible,future example: the Sixth Street North Landing site, which is situated near the Colorado River.
“I imagine a large portion of that will stay an open, public space regardless of what facilities might eventually be put on there,” Smith said.
City Council has agreed to make temporary upgrades to the site, but is leaving the door open to possible sell the site to a private developer in the future that would likely involve some type of open plaza or park area.
“But right now our plans for it are we are about to put in irrigation and sod it, so it’ll have grass and we have an RFP (Request For Proposals) out for a public art piece that will be put on that property, and that will happen over the next year,” Smith said.
The parks and recreation director felt the City Council and city staff were very aware of the need for park improvements and that they, too, recognized their importance to the Glenwood Springs community.
“I feel very fortunate that we do have a very supportive council as far as parks and recreation amenities go,” Smith said. “They recognize the economic value of it in our community and they also recognize that residents want a nice place to live as well as … they want to be able to have those spaces for their families and have those spaces to go enjoy with the rest of the community.”