Grand Avenue banner set to come down Jan. 1 in Glenwood Springs
The Grand Avenue banner, which has hung over Glenwood Springs’ main drag for as long as many residents can remember, will soon fall, possibly forever.
City Council now wants input from the community as to whether the city should continue the tradition in a better location with a new look, or simply end the free program for nonprofit organizations to promote their events altogether.
At its Sept. 6 meeting, council directed city staff to honor the contracts for use of the banner location at 11th and Grand through the rest of this year but to discontinue its use come January.
Although staff provided some optional banner locations or other types of signs to display messages for nonprofits, City Councilor Jonathan Godes suggested that council take no action, “until we can get a better sense of what the community would like.”
The Grand Avenue banner has advertised events ranging from Glenwood’s Strawberry Days Festival to the Kids & Teen Safety Fair currently being promoted above Grand, which doubles as State Highway 82.
According to sources with the city and Colorado Department of Transportation, “crazy issues,” like trucks being hit and a worker losing his hard hat to a gust of wind, which resulted in a broken car windshield and an “excited” driver, have occurred while changing out the banner.
Along with public safety, then comes another banner issue — money.
The city puts the banners up free of charge for the nonprofits, which costs about $27,861 per year to the city’s Electric Utility Fund.
“Yes, it is only for nonprofit events, and we do not recapture any costs,” Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa told the Post Independent ahead of council’s discussion last week.
“As traffic has increased, there is not an efficient way to close the street for safety,” she said. “City crews are stationed in CDOT’s right of way and could be hit by vehicles. Vehicles have sustained damage from this practice, and it is essential to protect our employees.”
With the banner set to come down, safer locations and an LED (light-emitting diode) sign heard discussion. However, council wanted more input from its constituents before proceeding with any other formal decisions. The city’s Parks and Recreation Board was against putting a lighted sign in Sayre Park.
Currently free of charge and subsequently completely booked for the remainder of the year, the question also came up as to whether nonprofits would pay to advertise their events should the city continue the tradition elsewhere.
In addition to an LED sign in Sayre Park, other potential locations included everywhere from above Glenwood Springs High School’s front marquee sign, to across the Colorado River on Sixth Street, as well as at the Community Center.
“I can see my grandma and grandpa driving their Model A down Grand and finding out what was going on, but I just don’t feel people are getting that information so much,” City Councilor Jim Ingraham said in regards to other means of modern communication being available.
“I do like the idea of having a year to talk to these organizations and maybe be able to give them some alternatives or some advice as to how to reach out to people,” Ingraham said.