It’s touch-and-go for city’s airport |

It’s touch-and-go for city’s airport

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The future is still up in the air for the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport as city leaders consider three options for the land: affordable housing, a high school site or keeping the airport running.

The three options came from the work of the Ad-Hoc Airport Committee, an 11-member group formed by City Council last summer to determine the highest and best use for the airport land.

The three sides set to talk at the meeting include local pilots and others who want to leave the airport as it is; leaders from the Re-1 School Board who would like to see the land turn into a new Glenwood Springs High School campus; and those who hope to see the land used for affordable housing and sports fields.

The work session will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. People from each side of the issue will be on hand to stump for their preferred land use. The meeting will also be attended by City Council and the public is welcome.

Three “My Side” opinion letters were recently printed in the Post Independent expressing the views of each group.

Steve Shute, a pilot who wants to see the airport be kept in its present use, wrote that the people voted in 1997 to keep the airport as it is.

“As a pilot, I’m concerned that our airport will close and an important component of my job will move to Rifle,” Shute wrote. “We like our amenities here, not there. You might like the fact that Glenwood has schools and a hospital and parks and a Wal-Mart here, not in Rifle. For me, the airport is nearly as vital as those.”

He also pointed out that there’s no other nearby Flight-for-Life portals and that the airport was used extensively by firefighters and for reseeding efforts last summer.

Re-1 School superintendent Fred Wall is among those who want the land used as the campus for a new Glenwood Springs High School.

“GSHS is currently on a 14-acre site and has had numerous additions since its original construction in 1953. There have been five major renovations. Due to its limited size, there is no space for a soccer field, baseball field or tennis courts,” he wrote.

Such large parcels of land in the Glenwood Springs area are limited, Wall wrote, making the airport land a desirable location for a new school.

He also wrote that the flatness of the land, its location in a growing residential area, the requirement of several types of fields and the potential redevelopment of the current high school site all would make the airport a logical place for a new high school.

Local architect Doug Harr’s letter lent support for those who would like to see affordable housing and athletic fields land at the airport.

“All high school outdoor practices could be held here, Carbondale’s as well as Glenwood’s,” he wrote.

“This would also be good centrally located open space that would help separate the existing residential developments from the new affordable housing.”

He guessed that around 250 residences could be built in the area.

“The city-owned property should be used for the direct benefit of a greater portion of the residents of Glenwood Springs and the surrounding area than is now benefited by the small airport,” he wrote.

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