City eyes mineral grant for 7th Street work

A rendering done by consultants Shannon Murphy Landscape Architects of Basalt and Charlier Associates of Boulder shows the concept for a redesigned Seventh Street pedestrian plaza area.
Courtesy City/DDA |

Glenwood Springs will be seeking federal mineral lease dollars to help pay for two projects associated with redeveloping the downtown area in conjunction with the Grand Avenue bridge project.

Topping the list for a Garfield Federal Mineral Lease District major grant request is the next phase of work to rebuild the Seventh Street plaza, where the new pedestrian bridge over the Colorado River is being built along with what’s being called the Seventh Street Station elevator tower that will serve as a centerpiece for the plaza project.

The city will also ask for a FMLD mini grant to do a study and preliminary design for a new bridge span over the Union Pacific railroad yard connecting Devereux Road to Midland Avenue.

“It seems to me that when we tie these grant requests to the bridge project, we do have more success,” City Council member Todd Leahy said during a recent council discussion about prioritizing Garfield FMLD grant applications for the fall cycle.

“This is a very visible project, and I think it would be something of interest (for grant funding),” he said.

The city has been collaborating with the Downtown Development Authority to design a new pedestrian plaza along Seventh Street. The ongoing redevelopment project builds on the sidewalk expansion that allowed for outdoor patio dining on the south side of the street.

A focal point for the work is the north side of Seventh where the sunken terrace area was located before the bridge construction began. The plan envisions two-way traffic being maintained on Seventh, with possible street closures for festivals, markets and other special events.

Future phases are to involve a plaza area beneath the highway bridge itself, and a pedestrian walkway on either side of Seventh Street west of the new bridge leading to the confluence area that’s also being planned for major redevelopment.

The city been successful of late obtaining the highly competitive FMLD grants for work associated with the Grand Avenue bridge project. The grant money, which is derived from mineral leasing on federal lands in Garfield County, is awarded twice a year for various infrastructure projects from Carbondale to Parachute.

Recent grants are helping to pay for a bike/pedestrian path connection along west Midland Avenue from Glenwood Meadows to the Exit 114 roundabouts, and for the planned reuse of the old Grand Avenue pedestrian bridge as a new span across the Roaring Fork River between Midland and 14th Street.

Other projects meant to provide greater vehicle and pedestrian mobility around town, including a permanent Eighth Street connection, are high priorities for the city but are not at a point where they can be constructed within the two-year time frame required of FMLD grants, City Engineer Terri Partch indicated to council last week.

Councilman Leo McKinney said he would prefer to apply for money to help rebuild south Midland Avenue between 27th Street and Four Mile Road.

“A lot of money is being spent downtown, and our charge is to look at the whole town,” McKinney said.

But he agreed with a suggestion by fellow Councilman Matt Steckler to wait for the spring grant cycle to consider that request.

“After a hard winter, it will be painfully obvious that we need to do something with (south Midland),” Steckler said.

Partch said the south Midland project would involve a complete reconstruction of the roadbed and surface with full curb and gutter, and is far more than a repaving project. It also comes with a price tag of about $12 million, she said.

Other projects on the city’s radar for future grant requests include:

• Reconstruction of downtown alleys with group trash collection areas.

• Streetscaping along Sixth Street between Devereux Road and the Glenwood Vapor Caves once the bridge project is done.

• A new, three-lane 27th Street (Sunlight) bridge.

• The Two Rivers and Veltus parks shoreline restoration project.

• Another downtown parking garage on the west side of Grand Avenue.

• The next phase of the Lower Valley Trail project in South Canyon.

City Council will consider a formal resolution making the FMLD grant requests for the Seventh Street and Devereux bridge projects, including a specific dollar amount, at its Aug. 18 meeting.

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