Your Watershed column: How you can help with two rivers park improvements
Spending a summer evening at Two Rivers Park is one of my favorite ways to spend quality time with friends and family. Sometimes we ride over for sunset dancing at Music in the Park. Sometimes we enjoy an afternoon float down from Carbondale, then lounge at the park before heading home (after moving the boat, of course). Other times I’ll just stroll through after work to wind down for the evening. There are so many different ways to enjoy this cherished community resource, whether you’re a visitor or resident, on a summer evening or any other time of the year.
The city of Glenwood Springs takes pride in our public spaces, including Two Rivers, and they are generally well-equipped and -maintained. Part of the reason our parks are in good shape is that we occasionally invest in improvements, such as projects to enhance safety and access for all. Without putting work in, these places would become less desirable spots to spend our summer evenings. If we value outdoor public spaces, we must accept the responsibility for maintaining them.
On Sept. 19, the Glenwood Springs City Council will vote on whether or not to fund the Two Rivers Park Boat Ramp and Shoreline Improvement Project. This week, you can show your support for Two Rivers and the future of our city by contacting your City Council representative or showing up for the meeting. This vote is the culmination of decades of planning and advocacy, which has come to a head in the last five years. Stakeholders have fine-tuned the design to maximize benefit to a wide variety of people and the environment, while minimizing costs.
Some of the proposed benefits of this project include a riverside trail that connects the park to the river in a safe and accessible way for more people; boat ramp enlargement; installing suitable restroom facilities; and shoreline restoration to improve habitat and the ecosystem function of the river. It’s probably a good time to pull out the half-buried cars and other scrap from the river bank in the heart of our city, and replace it with sturdy rock walls and riparian vegetation.
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All of these nice things cost money, but this project is a good use of our limited resources because it benefits people from all walks of life and is a critical component in the effort to redevelop the city core. The design team has worked to reduce proposed costs by involving stakeholders from the beginning, soliciting competing bids from five contractors, and ultimately removing certain parts of the project that were less critical (such as demolition of the old railroad abutment upstream of the pedestrian bridge, irrigation system replacement, and electrical system improvements). The lowest bid was about $2.6 million. The amount of money we spend on this project will reflect how much we value the river and our public spaces.
You can support this critical project by writing or calling your City Council representative, or attending the City Council meeting to voice your opinion. The meeting will be held at the Council Chambers (101 W. Eighth St.) at 6 p.m. Sept. 19. You can also email Trent Hyatt, the city’s liaison for the River Commission, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the River Commission will compile and share public comments during the meeting. It’s our responsibility as citizens to tell our representatives what our priorities are, and this is an opportunity to influence the people who decide how we spend our city’s money. Please take a stroll through the park on a summer evening, reflect on the importance of our watershed health and public spaces, and then do what you can to support the future of Two Rivers Park and our city.
Doug Winter serves on the board of directors and Outreach and Education Committee for the Middle Colorado Watershed Council (MCWC), whose mission is to evaluate, protect and enhance the health of the Middle Colorado River watershed through the cooperative effort of watershed stakeholders.
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Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel is opening many of its amenities, including an expanded bike park. Arbaney Pool in Basalt will have a limited reopening today on a reservation system.