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Glenwood Springs’ confluence conversation continues

City-owned land near the confluence of Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers sits empty and idle.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent

How to develop the 12.2 acres of land at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers remains a point of contention.

Last summer the Glenwood Springs City Council interviewed three development teams, which floated ideas ranging from a river park to over 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space as well as a hotel and conference center.

The confluence conversation continued Wednesday afternoon with a city council workshop in city hall.

“We just wanted to give council an update or kind of a recap really of what has happened in the past,” Jennifer Ooton, assistant city manager, said.

In February, city council approved the Glenwood Springs: Moving Forward Together U.S. EPA Area-Wide Plan. Funded primarily by a $200,000 grant, the plan strategized how to tie together the confluence redevelopment, the Sixth Street Corridor Master Plan, the now completed Seventh Street beautification project and the recently approved Two Rivers Park project.

“We have some new councilors who might not have internalized all of the information about the area-wide [plan],” Ooton said.

Despite conducting interviews with three developers, council has not selected a master developer team. And, ahead of making any such decision, council may form an ad hoc committee comprised of community members to help guide the project forward.

One of those new councilors, councilor Charlie Willman, favored forming a seven- to nine-member ad hoc committee.

“That would be a good group to help us lead the public vetting of the project,” Willman said. “The actual development can’t be done until we have fully vetted that with the community to make sure that the vision that we think as council is the vision the community shares.”

With city staff already working on several ongoing and future projects such as the Two Rivers Park project, the airport property scenario planning project, the reconstruction of South Midland Avenue and the long sought after South Bridge project, staff time was a concern at Wednesday’s meeting.

“From the beginning I have heard that the staff has been stretched pretty thin,” Councilor Paula Stepp said. “It’s not that I don’t want projects to happen, what I do want is to give them time.

“We are putting on the brakes a little bit, slowing down and getting a chance to fully look at this, which I am glad of,” Stepp added.

At this point, council does not have a timeframe for selecting a master developer for the confluence.

Councilor Tony Hershey, who was unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting, said he was not interested in spending any taxpayer money on the confluence at this time.

“The only people who seem to be for it are planners and developers,” Hershey said. “I am certainly not interested in building in one of the most congested areas in the town to create more traffic and parking issues for a project that nobody wants or needs.”

mabennett@postindependent.com


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