Garfield County’s $1.35 million boosts South Glenwood improvements | PostIndependent.com

Garfield County’s $1.35 million boosts South Glenwood improvements

A construction worker makes his way across the 27th Street Bridge in Glenwood Springs during a low traffic hour on Tuesday afternoon. Work is proceeding on the nearly $10 million bridge replacement project that's slated for completion later this year.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The bumpy stretch of South Midland Avenue in Glenwood Springs and the 27th Street Bridge — currently the worst-rated bridge in the state — have received a financial face-lift from Garfield County, to the tune of $1.35 million.

Sitting before the commissioners Monday, city representatives made their case as to why the county should chip in to help both infrastructure projects.

The city requested $5.38 million from the county, based on its approximate calculations of how many residents of unincorporated Garfield County, traveling from outside of Glenwood Springs’ city limits, utilize South Midland and the 27th Street/Sunlight Bridge.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky discussed the importance of the interchanges along South Midland, and Commissioner Mike Samson stressed the negative ramifications that could result later, should the bridge, in particular, not get fully funded and fixed.

“I want to thank the county commissioners for their generosity and their recognition of the importance of South Midland Avenue and the [bridge] to not only our city but to the entire county,” City Councilor Jim Ingraham said following the meeting. “Our city has now received about $12 million in grants to fund these projects … more than half of the cost.”

The city is staring at close to $20 million to complete both projects, a large chunk of which — more than $10 million — is already being funded by various state and federal grants.

Jankovsky pitched $850,000 for the South Midland interchanges that would be part of the city’s planned street reconstruction. And Samson agreed to $500,000 for the bridge.

“I look at priorities and I want to give you some money, for sure, because I use 27th Street Bridge and Midland Avenue,” Commissioner John Martin said before unleashing a laundry list of other projects he would also like completed.

“I know there are some folks on my side of the town, on the east side, and they have been in the city since Defiance, and they still don’t have paved streets or sidewalks or drainage and they have been there 100 plus years and they’re still waiting …,” Martin said, referring to the city’s original name of Defiance before being incorporated as Glenwood Springs in the late 19th century.

Ultimately, the Board of County Commissioners approved a total of $1.35 million that will go toward both South Midland and the 27th Street Bridge projects.

And, although it was not the full amount the city had requested, it was still music to the ears of city councilors and the city manager.

“I want to thank the county commissioners for their generosity and their recognition of the importance of South Midland Avenue and the [bridge] to not only our city but to the entire county,” City Councilor Jim Ingraham said following the meeting. “Our city has now received about $12 million in grants to fund these projects … more than half of the cost.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa.

“It means so much to our residents in South Glenwood,” Figueroa said.

While Martin ended up supporting funds for both projects, he also emphasized critical needs over beautification and taking care of Garfield County residents first.

“We need to shift priorities. Take care of the people that are here, that have been here a long time, instead of always taking care of the people that we hope to come and spend their money here,” Martin exclaimed before catching his breath. “That’s my soapbox.”

mabennett@postindependent.com


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