Rec water right opposition dropped in pool agreement
An agreement between the city of Glenwood Springs and the Hot Springs Pool related to the current Grand Avenue Bridge right of way also includes a provision for the pool to drop its opposition to the city’s request for water rights to develop new whitewater parks on the Colorado River.
The agreement, formally signed by City Council at its Aug. 6 meeting, is mainly intended to divide future ownership of the existing Highway 82 bridge easement between the city and the pool once the new, realigned bridge is built.
According to City Attorney Karl Hanlon, it gives the city the “upper bench” portion of the landing area along Sixth Street at Pine for redevelopment purposes. The pool will obtain the lower area over which the current bridge spans for continued use as a customer parking lot.
The deal also cleans up title issues involving other old street rights of way in the vicinity of the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool, and provides for the city to develop 25 new public parking spaces during and after the two-year bridge construction.
The city is also to work with the pool to eventually develop a public parking garage to serve the area.
Another piece of the agreement dedicates an official easement for the Hot Springs Pool’s existing outflow into the Colorado River.
In doing so, it effectively resolves a floodplain permitting issue that had become an issue in state water court where the city is trying to secure a new water right to develop a new whitewater park at one of three potential locations, Hanlon explained.
As a result, the broad agreement includes a provision for the pool to withdraw its opposition to the city’s water court case, he said.
Still, the city’s application for what’s referred to as a “recreational in-channel diversion,” or RICD, has a long river to row in water court.
The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) last month voted 8-1 to oppose Glenwood’s request, saying the secured in-stream flow right “would impair Colorado’s ability to fully develop its compact entitlements” with downstream states.
The city is seeking the right to call for 1,250 cubic feet per second of water to be delivered to three potential sites for whitewater parks at No Name, Horseshoe Bend and Two Rivers Park, from April 1 to Sept. 30.
It also wants the right to call for 2,500 cfs for up to 46 days between April 30 and July 23, and to call for 4,000 cfs on five consecutive days sometime between May 11 and July 6 in order to host a whitewater competition.
The CWCB finding is just one step in the process. It’s opinion goes to the Division 5 Water Court in Glenwood Springs, where the city filed its water rights application.
While the board’s determination is not binding on a water court judge, it has to be considered by the court as part of the ongoing case.
BACK ON THE BRIDGE FRONT
Meanwhile, the broader agreement with the Hot Springs Pool regarding the bridge easement and related issues was hailed by city officials as necessary to accomplish several things as the new bridge is about to be built.
“This is an example of the community coming together for a greater cause, and I want to commend the pool for working with us on this,” Councilman Leo McKinney said before council voted unanimously to accept the deal.
Council is now set to deal with three separate agreements between the city and the Colorado Department of Transportation regarding the bridge project.
One of those agreements has to do with the city’s pledged $3 million contribution to the estimated $110 million to $115 million bridge project, for which the state is covering $99 million from the Colorado Bridge Enterprise fund.
Another agreement deals with future maintenance of the new pedestrian bridge and elevator access to Seventh Street, as well as other pedestrian access features that are part of the larger bridge project. Joint city and CDOT use of the bridge and related infrastructure is addressed in another separate agreement.
Final consideration of those agreements was postponed from the Aug. 6 meeting until a special meeting this Wednesday when council is also set to review the 90 percent design plans for the bridge. That meeting begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall.
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