Library planning seen as investment in downtown Glenwood
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – An ordinance allowing the city to transfer a piece of downtown property to the Garfield County Public Library District should be seen as more than just an effort to keep the Glenwood Springs library downtown.
“I want people to know that this is a very significant act that serves as an investment in our downtown, and our work to try to stabilize that area of our town both socially and economically,” City Councilman Dave Sturges said at the Oct. 6 council meeting.
“It’s not an easy process, and it’s not entirely over,” he said. “It will be a significant change for the community, and opens up a lot of other opportunities.”
Council unanimously adopted the ordinance. In addition to authorizing transfer of the property at Eighth Street and Cooper Avenue to the library, which the city bought earlier this year for $1.6 million, it also commits the city to its $50,000 share of the $300,000 design cost for the new shared library facility.
In addition to a new, 14,000 square-foot library building, the structure is to also include underground parking for the soon-to-be-relocated Colorado Mountain College Central Services building at 802 Grand Ave.
The second story of the library building is envisioned to serve CMC’s future needs for offices and additional meeting rooms, with a connection to its main building across the alley.
The library district and CMC boards have also committed to take the next steps to jointly develop the site with the city and the Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
There would also be a public plaza immediately to the south of the library building, and the city will take ownership of the existing library building at Ninth Street and Blake Avenue once the new library is built. The city already owns the land beneath that building.
“The project elements are all still in play,” said city manager Jeff Hecksel in introducing the ordinance to council last week. “How they get implemented is still in negotiations.”
The city is also working to enhance public parking in the downtown area, and is now focusing on the city-owned lot at Ninth and Cooper behind the U.S. Forest Service building for that purpose.
Part of the planning work will include schematic designs for a multi-level parking structure at that site, Hecksel said.
Around the same time the city purchased the Eighth and Cooper lots, CMC purchased the US Bank building at 802 Grand Ave. from the same group of investors.
The second and third stories of that building are being renovated to house the college’s administrative offices, which will move from the current central services building at Ninth and Grand.
The purchases paved the way for the city, the library district, CMC and the DDA to work toward a development agreement.
“This is a demonstration of what good government can do to enhance a community,” Glenwood Springs Mayor Matt Steckler said before the vote was taken on the property transfer ordinance.
Under the agreement, the city and DDA will each cover $50,000 of the $300,000 design work, while CMC and the library district would each be responsible for $100,000.
In other business at the Oct. 6 meeting, city council:
• Held a work session with Colorado Department of Transportation officials to discuss the planning process to rebuild or replace the Grand Avenue/State Highway 82 Bridge. A proposed resolution stating the city’s goals with that project was tabled for some revisions until the Oct. 20 meeting.
• Adopted an ordinance establishing increased Community Center fees and pass prices, effective Jan. 1, 2012. The new fees, as recommended by the city Parks and Recreation Commission, are part of the city’s cost recovery plan for the Community Center, city Recreation Director Tom Barnes said, and will result in about $10,000 to $12,000 in additional revenue on a budget of $2.1 million.
“We’re not talking big dollars, but it is measurable toward our cost recovery goals,” Barnes said.
The ordinance passed 6-1, with Councilor Sturges opposed on the grounds that the extra revenue amount didn’t justify the fee increase.
• Ratified a set of council goals for the next two years related to economic development, traffic mitigation, planning for confluence area development, fire services, a new library, wastewater rates, and making public information more accessible.
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