Glenwood Council candidates share views on North Landing site
On the issues
Who: Glenwood Springs candidates for City Council At-Large and Ward 3
What: A weeklong series with the candidates in the April 2 city election addressing the Post Independent’s questions.
Monday: What is your vision for Glenwood Springs’ confluence area redevelopment?
Today: Specifically, what should be done with the parcel of land where the former Grand Avenue Bridge touched down adjacent to Sixth Street?
Wednesday: What is your position on the new 3/4-cent sales tax for citywide street construction and repairs, and why?
Thursday: What can City Council do to help people who work in Glenwood Springs also afford to live in Glenwood Springs?
Friday: How should the issue of short-term vacation rentals be handled in Glenwood Springs?
Following the completion of the new Grand Avenue Bridge in June 2018, one big question became what to do with the former bridge landing site at Sixth and Pine.
Now owned by the city and referred to as the North Landing, the site was envisioned as a public space of some sort in the official Sixth Street Corridor Master Plan that was completed a couple of years ago. But there have been divergent views on Glenwood Springs City Council whether it should be public open space, or possibly developed through a public-private partnership.
We asked the candidates for two contested seats in the April 2 City Council election their thoughts on the matter.
Specifically, what should be done with the parcel of land where the former Grand Avenue Bridge touched down adjacent to Sixth Street?
The North Landing Site is city-owned property, which means it belongs to the citizens of Glenwood Springs. My philosophy on these kinds of issues is that these “citizen owners,” particularly those who live and work in the neighborhood in question, should have the primary say in the future use of the property.
I believe that the job of the Council is to present viable options for people to consider and debate, and to develop and implement outcomes that reflect the will of the neighborhood. Council has recently directed staff to create three options for the site. All options provide for a majority of the site to be used as open space — plazas, play areas, places to have coffee. etc. The alternatives vary in how much development is included — from minimal (restrooms only) to more moderate (uses to be determined through public input).
Based on the input I have heard so far, I believe that the citizens in that area would like to see more open space. A meeting has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on March 5 in Hotel Colorado to solicit public input on these alternatives and any other input the neighborhood might have.
I encourage citizens to attend the meeting and provide their input. I will follow the neighborhood’s lead.
I am inclined to keep development of that parcel as simple and as open as possible. This space would present another opportunity for connectivity to downtown and West Glenwood by creating public space for residents and tourists alike.
From what I know now, this small space could be developed minimally but thoughtfully with a mix of landscaping and hardscaping, play features for children, and public art. This could create a gathering place that would add vitality that benefits nearby establishments.
I am interested in hearing more public input at the meeting on March 5, as well as seeing the proposed designs for small, medium and large developments of the space.
Given the parcel’s size, however, I’m not sure how viable a public-private partnership is relative to the challenges of such a partnership. It may even cost the city more to manage that partnership versus developing the parcel ourselves. Regardless, any proposed designs should be low maintenance with broad-based community appeal.
I am open to various uses for this relatively small piece of property. I like the idea of a small pocket park. Green spaces, even small ones, provide relief from urban intensity for residents and visitors. Given the central location (near the Hot Springs Pool, the Hotel Colorado, etc.) a small kiosk or visitor’s center might be appropriate at this location. The landing area would also seem appropriate for small public restrooms if they are properly cleaned (or self cleaning), supervised and maintained.
I am also aware that there are plans for this area by the land owner(s) to redevelop Sixth Street between the Hotel Colorado and Laurel Street. This space, if used as a park with a visitor’s area or other amenities, could then be used as part of this expansion depending on the final land use decisions in that area. So, we should not do anything permanent yet until there is a final plan for the entire area.
Finally, it is important to respect the neighbors in the area and their input. This parcel, small as it may be, is centrally located between hotels and the pool, and it can be an important open space, park, etc., for whatever we ultimately decide. Again, I would be reluctant at this time to do anything permanent on this space until we have a consensus from the neighbors; and before we have a definitive plan for that section of Sixth Street between Pine and Laurel Streets.
Ward 3 candidates
The North Landing must include open space that is needed in North Glenwood, and which attracts visitors and citizens to this link between retail, hotel and housing uses on the north side of the Colorado River to historic downtown.
The critical decision is how to energize this area while at the same time providing a safe place for those using the North Landing. Input from residents and commercial property owners in North Glenwood is vital to understanding and developing this area. Any commercial development on this site must enhance the open space use while at the same time providing this security.
I can see including a visitor’s center and/or a historical museum but funds for such development are not readily available and the Chamber and Historic Group would need to partner on these costs. Potential uses for the open space are food vendors, small concert space and areas to simply relax and enjoy the views.
Any development must enhance and be connected to the development of the Sixth Street corridor — from Two Rivers Park to and including the North Landing. The city cannot develop North Landing in a vacuum. As with the activation of Seventh Street, the city must take the lead in providing aesthetic enhancements along the Sixth Street corridor including the North Landing.
Parking is also an important element. but making the area walkable can reduce the need for parking. The recent grants to develop Midland leaves A&I bond funds available to finalize the design and to construct these improvements and this should be a priority in 2020.
I would like to see this parcel turned into a more pedestrian-friendly area that would attract residents and tourists alike. I believe this is a good opportunity to develop it into something that would increase foot traffic for the businesses on the north side of the river and change the perception of it from a hard-to-access area to a natural extension of the downtown experience.
At this point, I’m not married to any particular option to achieve that goal. That being said, if the city does anything that involves development of major structures on the site, I would want to be positive that it does so to its benefit, not that of a developer.
The position on the parcel of land where the former Grand Avenue Bridge touched down adjacent to Sixth Street is in my ward. This gives me a unique opportunity to talk to the people who live there and represent them.
So far, I have heard loud and clear that people want to claim this area as part of our unique town. People are for decisions made for locals first, and to appease tourists second. I’ve heard “no” to privatization. There has to be room for identity of local enjoyment.
I see there are bathrooms in the plans. I so appreciate seeing that in there. I propose a self-cleaning bathroom set of stalls. I have seen these work so well in other places. They can be beautifully tiled and at the end of the day automatically power washed and dried. The initial cost outweighs the longterm cost of cleaning.
I would personally like to see DDA design a xeriscaping plan with boulders interspersed with native plants and low water shade trees. Places for people to sit comfortably and gather would work for both locals and tourists alike.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.