Second of three debates zeroes in on North Glenwood territory
Imagine Glenwood Forum
When: 6–7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19
Where: Glenwood Springs Library
Format: Candidate statements followed by Q&A
Candidates in the contested Ward 3 and At Large Glenwood Springs City Council races met for a second debate Thursday evening, this time, on the north side of the Colorado River.
Taking place at the Hotel Colorado and put on by the North Glenwood Caucus, candidates dove right into the issues those in attendance wanted discussed.
Namely, each candidate offered their vision for the North Landing site where the former Grand Avenue Bridge touched down, and the surrounding Sixth Street area that’s envisioned for redevelopment.
Ward 3 candidate Charlie Willman touted his eight-year tenure on the city’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board. He recalled conversations he had with former DDA Executive Director Leslie Bethel, who died in December following a bout with cancer.
“We talked about … [the landing site] being an area that would be activated for a festival type of atmosphere,” Willman said.
Willman floated ideas such as art and car shows during the summer months as examples of the “atmosphere” he had in mind, but thought such exhibits would only work with trees providing shade and maintaining as much open space as possible.
Jennifer Vanian, also seeking the Ward 3 seat, liked the idea of public restrooms being on the north side of the river and showed her continued support for environmentally friendly options for Sixth Street.
“Have more green space, but I am also thinking we are more suited for xeriscaping, curbed paths and shade,” Vanian said.
The final Ward 3 candidate to answer, Ksana Oglesby, like Willman and Vanian, wanted to see the North Landing site and surrounding Sixth Street area not lose any of its open space.
“Whether that takes the form of a park or a plaza of some sort, to me, the ideal use would be some place where people could gather,” Oglesby said.
Additionally, Oglesby wanted Seventh and Sixth Street to act as a gateway to each other and promoted a symbiotic relationship between the two.
Calling the space between Devereux Road and the former Glenwood Springs Hydroelectric Plant building a “tourist corridor,” At Large candidate Tony Hershey wanted to see the area become even more pedestrian and tourist friendly, at the appropriate time.
“I am concerned about the city spending a lot of money that we clearly do not have on plans and charettes and diagrams and pictures and statues,” Hershey said.
While he agreed the ideas were nice, Hershey wanted to keep options for the North Landing open for future discussions when they were financially feasible.
At Large candidate Erika Gibson described the need to maintain the connectivity between Sixth Street and the downtown, particularly in the form of aesthetic similarities.
Gibson recognized the North Glenwood Caucus’ push to maintain open space, and said she liked that there wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction in favor of a two-story development.
Speaking to the larger Sixth Street area, Gibson believed the city could and should do more to incentivize appropriate, private development.
“I think the way to do that is to focus on some of the infrastructure like the sidewalks and pedestrian and bicycle friendly modes of transportation,” she said.
Gibson explained how that type of infrastructure would encourage the right type of developer and subsequent development for the Sixth Street area.
Current At Large City Councilor Jim Ingraham said the North Landing property belonged to city residents, and wanted to give them options for it.
“I do believe a consensus is starting to form and people are coalescing around an idea that is clearly open — some sort of plaza,” Ingraham said.
However the North Landing site is ultimately designed and implemented would set the tone for the entire Sixth Street area, he said.
“It is really important that we get it right,” said Ingraham, who is seeking formal election after being appointed to the seat vacated by former Councilwoman Kathryn Trauger last year.