‘Brownfield’ project seeks to link Glenwood planning efforts
Key to Glenwood Springs winning a competitive federal planning grant earlier this year was identifying a string of “brownfield” properties that could qualify as target sites.
Usually, when one thinks of a brownfield site they envision a large, abandoned, polluted urban industrial site.
Those sites often require a lot of cleanup before any redevelopment occurs, observed Glenwood City Manager Debra Figueroa at an open house to explain the “Glenwood — Moving Forward Together” planning effort.
That’s not necessarily the case for the Glenwood sites identified to obtain a $200,000 Environmental Protection Association Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant, she said.
But the three sites lie within a larger planning area, providing a unique opportunity for the city as it works to better connect four distinct areas on either side of the Colorado River. Separate redevelopment efforts are underway in the areas.
They include the city-owned former wastewater treatment plant site, located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers, Colorado Department of Transportation’s maintenance facility and the privately owned Holly Quarry site above U.S. 6 and 24.
The former limestone quarry belongs to Steve and Jeanne Beckley, owners of the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. The site is being planned for a hotel and new “mine shaft” access up to the amusement park and caves.
As for the city’s former sewer plant site, it is slated to become part of the larger confluence area redevelopment plan. And CDOT is always evaluating its holdings for potential higher and better uses in the future.
A pair of public open houses this week served to gather community input on the broader planning effort, coinciding with the imminent final completion of the Grand Avenue Bridge Project.
Moving Forward seeks ways to tie together the confluence plan with the planned Seventh Street improvements, the Sixth Street redevelopment master plan and the Two Rivers Park shoreline restoration project and related park improvements.
“We’re not looking to do another plan,” said Figueroa, who was instrumental in obtaining the federal grant. She has also worked on Area-Wide Grant planning efforts in some of her past jobs.
“We’re looking to take the multiple plans that we’ve done and turn it into an implementation plan … so we can figure out how to actually move them forward,” she said.
Participants at the Wednesday and Thursday sessions were asked to weigh in on four focus areas. Among the specific questions people were asked to rank were, regarding transportation and connectivity:
• Reinforce the city’s small-town character using typical downtown block length as a model for new development
• Promote street systems that have pedestrian/bicycle facilities and inviting designs
• Promote a “park once and walk” mindset, so people aren’t compelled to drive from point to point within the planning area.
Regarding community character and design:
• Preserve small-town character while maintaining livability of Glenwood Springs and increasing commercial success
• Extending downtown building design characteristics to any new Sixth Street development.
Regarding parks, public spaces and recreation:
• Expand public access to and along the Colorado River, including a river walkway from Iron Mountain Hot Springs through Two Rivers Park to the confluence area
• Create a public plaza-like space along the Roaring Fork River side of the confluence area
• Create a public plaza at the former bridge landing on Sixth Street
• Develop Seventh Street as an “events street” corridor that serves both as a street connection and public gathering space.
And regarding economic development opportunities:
• Promote development that includes affordable housing options for area workers, young people and retirees
• Future redevelopment of the old sewer site should connect downtown to the river
• Promote Glenwood Springs as an outdoor recreation destination, with well-designed connections to waterways and trails.
The EPA Area-Wide planning effort is being led by consultants from Stromberg/Garrigan and Associates, which has worked on numerous such projects. Locally, nonprofit land-planning consultants Community Builders is also involved.
A follow-up planning workshop is scheduled for Jan. 10 in the Morgridge Commons at the CMC/Glenwood Springs Library building at Eighth and Cooper.