Save Grand group seeks advisory vote on Glenwood Springs bridge
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A citizens group that has been trying to convince city leaders and state transportation officials to halt planning for a new Grand Avenue Bridge in favor of coming up with a plan to take Highway 82 off of Grand wants an advisory vote on the question.
“We don’t feel like city council has a good grasp of what the citizens really want,” said John Haines, chairman of the Citizens to Save Grand Avenue.
The coalition of both city and non-city residents and downtown business owners would prefer a highway bypass along an alignment to be studied and determined, rather than the proposed new $60 million bridge that would keep highway traffic on Grand Avenue.
“We’re saying, put it out to the citizens and see what they say,” Haines said. “We may find out that the Citizens for Grand is way out in left field, and we have the wrong idea. I don’t know.
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“But I want to know what people’s real thoughts are,” he said.
Haines sent a letter to Glenwood Springs City Council on May 15 asking that a non-binding, “advisory” question be put on the ballot at an election date to be determined.
“On behalf of its more than 1,000 members and all the residents of Glenwood Springs, Citizens to Save Grand Avenue hereby requests that City Council authorize a public voting procedure as soon as possible to determine the will of the people you were elected to serve,” he states in the letter.
Council briefly discussed the letter at its June 6 meeting, and decided to put it on the agenda for tonight’s regular council meeting for further consideration.
“We all felt that it was worthy of putting on the agenda to have a formal discussion,” Mayor Leo McKinney said. “I think we’re all very much interested in at least having this discussion.”
But, McKinney said, in addition to his own reservations, he’s not sure there’s enough support on council to put the question on the ballot.
“It does have the potential to further muck up the process,” McKinney said of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s ongoing environmental assessment before proceeding with the bridge replacement.
Without specific details, such as where a new bridge and bypass should be located, “There can be a lot of unintended consequences,” he said.
A special election on the question would also cost about $15,000, unless the city wanted to wait to put it on the November general election ballot, he said.
The ballot question discussion comes at the end of a long meeting today, which includes a 4 p.m. work session with CDOT’s bridge planning team. Included will be a discussion of various “mitigation strategies” to deal with traffic and business impacts during the bridge construction in 2015.
“The city is very interested in nailing down how CDOT and the city can work together to deal with those impacts,” McKinney said.
Also on the agenda are several planning reviews, including for a proposed assisted and independent living home and nursing facility for seniors, which is proposed for the former Sunlight Racquet Club property on Midland Avenue. Also on the agenda will be a review of the Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park’s proposed rezoning for the former quarry site on Traver Trail to accommodate a future hotel and cog rail access to the amusement park.
The regular council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Glenwood Springs City Hall, 101 W. Eighth St.
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