Public may comment on Vogelaar Park swap
A plan to redevelop the public park portion of what’s now Vogelaar Park next to the revamped Glenwood Springs Elementary School in downtown Glenwood is now open for public comments.
A land swap between the city and the Roaring Fork School District last year led to the GSES campus renovation and new addition to the school building.
As part of that deal, the city and school district were required to replace a portion of the long-established Vogelaar Park due to federal funding that was granted for facility improvements in 1980. A formal federal environmental assessment of the plan was also required.
What’s now a youth baseball diamond on the eastern portion of the site is proposed to become a mix of housing and limited commercial development as part of the city’s Confluence Area Redevelopment Plan that was adopted in September.
In order to maintain the so-called “6F” federal designation and not have to pay back the old grant, new park facilities are to be developed to the west and south of the current park. The plan calls for three new youth soccer fields, grassy and shady play areas, new playground equipment, hard courts for basketball and other uses, and public parking.
As part of the school development and to accommodate the walking school bus that has been in place during the Grand Avenue bridge detour this fall, a trail connection to the Glenwood River Trail from the school and park area has already been constructed.
In planning the new park amenities, city recreation officials determined that soccer fields are in greater demand than baseball. Thus, the decision was made not to build a new baseball field on the site. The school district also determined that soccer fields are more adaptable for physical education programming during the school day.
“Though the baseball field would be leaving, there are youth baseball facilities located at Sopris Elementary and the newly constructed Riverview School that are available for use,” notes a description of the Vogelaar project on the city’s website.
Historically, the school district acquired the 4.7-acre park parcel in the 1950s. In 1980, the district improved the park utilizing a federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant, in addition to state grant money. The use of these funds resulted in this parcel of land being protected for public outdoor recreation under the 6F designation.
In May of 2016, the city and school district finalized a land swap where the city took ownership of the eastern half the Vogelaar Park parcel, and the district took over the former city shop and recycling center property to the south of the former GSES site. The district also retained the western portion of the park site where the new recreational facilities are to be developed.
The reconfigured park is expected to be open and available for community use by summer 2018. However, the proposal is open to formal public comment through Nov. 19.