City Council candidate profile: Steve Davis
Ward 1 candidate
Occupation: General Contractor specializing in the remodel and new construction of homes specifically in Glenwood Springs. We also do some commercial construction like the remodel of the new Big John’s Ace Hardware store.
Family: Married to Marilyn for 39 years; three sons, two of whom live in Glenwood Springs and work with me full time on our projects around town; three grandchildren, and two more on the way.
Education: Studied business management at Oklahoma State University, where Marilyn and I began our life-long relationship.
Previous/current civic involvement: As owner of Summit Canyon Mountaineering, I was an active member of the Glenwood Chamber as well as the Downtown Business Association. We organized multiple local events annually such as ski and snowshoe races as well as annual boating events and trail projects. We have been active in the sponsorship of annual events such as the Glenwood Triathlon, Mothers Day Mile and Strawberry Days.
Editor’s Note: The Post Independent continues its series of Q&A responses from the candidates vying for two contested seats on the Glenwood Springs City Council in the April 7 mail-ballot election. Today, we introduce the final candidate vying for the open Ward 1 seat, Steve Davis. Russ Arensman was featured on Thursday, and previously we featured the three candidates vying for the At-Large seat, Kathryn Trauger on Monday, Tony Hershey on Tuesday and Kathy Williams on Wednesday. We will conclude the series on Saturday with incumbent candidates Todd Leahy and Mike Gamba, who are running unopposed for their ward seats. Ballots are to be mailed to all registered city voters on March 16.
How long have you lived in Glenwood Springs?
Marilyn and I moved here with our boys 24 years ago.
If not a native, where are you from originally from and what brought you here?
Marilyn and I, along with our boys, were all born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We moved here chasing our dream of owning an outdoor business in the mountains of Colorado and living in a smaller community to raise our sons. We owned Summit Canyon Mountaineering here and in Grand Junction. We also owned and operated Dragon’s Boot and Shoe in the Glenwood Springs Mall and Calder’s Market downtown where the Bluebird Café is today. Glenwood Springs and these businesses provided a great place to raise our family. Glenwood made our dreams come true.
In 50 words describe your feelings for Glenwood Springs:
Obviously I love Glenwood. This is our home. We are not here because we were born here but because we chose to move here. Glenwood is the home of my children and the birthplace of my grandchildren. Glenwood has been good to us. It abounds in the outdoor activities that enrich our lives.
What prompted your decision to run for City Council?
It is time for me to give back to the community that has enriched my life. I am concerned about the future of our town. We are rapidly approaching a critical juncture that will not only present challenges but also great opportunities. The decisions and actions of the next four years will define Glenwood for generations to come. I believe it is important at this time to fill a position on council with a candidate that has a proven background with strong business leadership skills. Someone that can make decisions without the pondering. Someone with a vision for Glenwood’s future. I have lived my life by the concept of legendary customer service. I believe my past downtown business ownership experience, along with my construction background and experience in working with Glenwood’s Community Development Department will be an asset to council.
Do you support the Colorado Department of Transportation’s current plans to replace the Grand Avenue Bridge?
Most definitely. Unfortunately, the way these types of bridges are designed and built they have a predetermined life expectancy. They will not last forever. Our bridge is now a decade beyond its design. This bridge has been deficient in size almost since its original construction. It is now also deficient structurally. There will never be a perfect time to endure the inconvenience of the replacement. I sat on a bridge replacement committee 15 years ago. We lacked the consensus then to get the job done. I wish we had. The money is now available for its replacement, and while it is we should get this replacement over with and get on with the future plans and redevelopment of our town. There will be great opportunities for Glenwood born out of the bridge project with the redevelopment of Sixth Street and the areas surrounding the bridge on Seventh.
If a separate Highway 82 bypass is to be studied, what are your thoughts on how best to accomplish that, and what is the city’s role?
I do not see a practical relocation of Highway 82. More lanes of pavement with more traffic running through our neighborhoods do not solve the issue of trucks and cars. It just spreads out the noise, light pollution and exhaust fumes. However, if there was a practical relocation that was actually a bypass (one that bypasses outside of our city limits) and not just another through street, I believe we should keep an open mind and consider that option. Community consensus and the cost of this type of option I believe will always be a roadblock.
In what other ways can the city address the impacts of traffic congestion in and around Glenwood?
Outside of the obvious positive outcomes of better public transportation and pedestrian connections such as trails and sidewalks, we will need to explore the construction of more connections across our rivers and rails. We need to conveniently pass from the Red Mountain and Meadows area to midtown, i.e. City Market and Glenwood High School, without driving through downtown. We need to be able to go from the Meadows to North Glenwood or Two Rivers Park by passing over the tracks to Devereux Road without driving through downtown. I drive through downtown several times a day just getting from one point to another and not because my destination is downtown. This would take a great deal of traffic out of our neighborhood streets and the downtown area. How great it would be to be able to walk across the Roaring Fork to midtown rather than feel like you had to drive through downtown to get there.
Is the proposed South Bridge connection to Highway 82 needed, and why?
The construction of the South Bridge will be necessary for any future development in the Four Mile or Three Mile area of our community. It would be extremely helpful as well for all living south of 27th Street that commute upvalley. It would certainly take a tremendous load from the 27th Street Bridge. The 27th Street Bridge and South Midland are not sufficient to carry any additional traffic load, or for that matter even the load they carry now. Currently, the 27th Street Bridge is rated at only a 42 percent sufficiency and is in need of replacement. South Midland Avenue is in poor repair and sits directly in a debris flow area; therefore, is at a constant risk of closure, which would result in a terrible inconvenience to those living in south Glenwood and a terrible safety concern with the only way out via Dry Park Road and through Carbondale.
What are your thoughts regarding the potential for redeveloping the Confluence area?
We live in a river community with very few places to access the river. If you’re on the river there is no place to pull in to access any café or restaurant. Glenwood is a destination for tourists from around the nation because of our rivers. The Roaring Fork has a Gold Medal Trout Water designation for fly fishing, which brings thousands of people through our town; however at our confluence of these two great rivers is still an industrial site mostly abandoned by our city, and yet still standing. The old wastewater treatment plant needs to be cleared now and we need to proactively be finalizing a plan for that area’s redevelopment. I would like to see not only a greenbelt along the river but a café, restaurant, small retail area with housing above to help support the project.
Does Glenwood have a need for new housing development? If so, what types of housing and where should that occur?
Glenwood should work toward more attainable high-density housing in the core of the city. The city of Glenwood Springs discourages inner-city housing by charging excessive permit fees and maintaining outdated zoning restrictions. Revising these fees and restrictions would bring great opportunities for more auxiliary dwelling units and apartments in town. This would provide more attainable housing in the part of town where someone working in our service industry needs to live without the need to commute to get to and from work and would also provide additional income to homeowners trying to buy homes or stay in homes they already own. As for Four Mile development, there are still nearly 200 vacant lots up Four Mile in areas already developed. What we need now is housing that citizens working in our community can afford to rent or buy in order to be able to live in the community in which they work.
Should the city build and operate its own power plant to help make the city electric utility more self-sustaining? If so, what’s the most attractive generation source?
We should continue to look for options to supplement our usage and hopefully control the cost to our citizens. We should keep the door open to and actively seek out opportunities to partner with companies that specialize in municipal energy sources. To answer the question specifically I cannot see the city of Glenwood Springs on its own, building and operating its own power plant in the foreseeable future as I believe at this point in time our plate is overflowing with projects, wants and needs that are half finished, not maintained or not started. We could not take on yet another project of that size at this juncture till we get caught up on some of these other projects and issues at hand.
Name one other key issue facing the city, and how would you address it?
Well I wish there was just one other key issue. The problem now is that there are quite a number of issues. A crumbling infrastructure, pedestrian safety, connectivity, streets, alleys, bridges that need to be replaced and so on. The answer I’m afraid is money. The solution is keeping a close eye on the budget and the continued development of new sources of commerce along with maintaining existing commerce throughout the life of these projects so we continue to grow our sales and lodging tax, not shrink it. It is now time for decisive action, fewer studies, less pondering and more community involvement in order to achieve results we can all be proud of. We are poised to move forward. Let’s do it.
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Marti Barbour was selected almost 20 years ago as the first recipient of a Habitat For Humanity house in the Roaring Fork Valley. She paid off her mortgage in June and recalled the dire times her family faced and the help that Habitat provided.