Glenwood Springs seeking park, plaza ideas for Sixth Street site
Glenwood Springs is looking to private interests, rather than public works, to come up with development ideas for two downtown parcels viewed as central to the post-Grand Avenue bridge redevelopment.
The city and the Downtown Development Authority are soliciting proposals for the north landing area of the former Grand Avenue bridge. The now-vacant parcel is a key part of the Sixth Street Corridor Master Plan that was developed last year.
That particular area is envisioned in the conceptual plan as a public park, a mix of commercial and public park space or private development with an outdoor plaza that would be open to the public.
In addition, the city and DDA are seeking ideas on what to do with an alley lot just east of the new bridge in the 700 block of Grand Avenue.
The DDA recently bought the vacant lot from downtown Glenwood real estate mogul Cushman King, who originally planned to construct a new building on the site.
“City Council has expressed an interest in seeing some creativity in terms of what folks think those two sites can be,” said Jennifer Ooton, community and economic development director for the city.
“Both are prime, downtown locations, and we’re looking to developers, architects and designers to see what people’s ideas are for those parcels,” she said.
Proposals are due Jan. 11, after which the DDA is expected to make a presentation and recommendations to council.
Regarding the Sixth Street site, the city says it is looking for a design that will honor the character of the historic Hot Springs Pool district. The area is home to the distinctive Hot Springs bathhouse building and the Hotel Colorado.
The city has also received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for a sculpture that could serve as a centerpiece for the plaza.
However, a “privately owned outdoor plaza” is preferred in the design, rather than a public park, according to the formal request for proposals.
“We are looking for an active, outdoor plaza component,” Ooton said. Whether that ends up being private or public space remains to be seen, she said.
According to the Sixth Street plan, completion of the new Grand Avenue bridge would result in a 16,300-square-foot “public park” just west of the north landing for the new pedestrian bridge.
Whether owned by the city or turned over the private interests, “the new park will be at the crossroad of major pedestrian and bicycle routes which connect the Sixth Street corridor with the Glenwood Canyon trail,” according to the master plan. The new trail link is also recommended in the plan.
During the Sixth Street master-planning process, there were some concerns raised regarding the creation of large public park spaces, and policing some of the unwanted behavior that can occur with the area’s transient population.
Ooton said a pre-bid conference on Wednesday attracted a “full room” of firms that may end up submitting proposals.
“We look forward to seeing what ideas people have,” she said.
On the south side, between Seventh and Eighth streets, the city and DDA envision another active site alongside the walkway that will connect the alleys on either side of the new bridge. That could include a building, or some mix of private and semi-public space.