No. 3 news story of 2011: Glenwood moves to keep its library in historic downtown |

No. 3 news story of 2011: Glenwood moves to keep its library in historic downtown

The Garfield County Public Library District joined forces this year with the city of Glenwood Springs, the Downtown Development Authority and Colorado Mountain College to embark on a major downtown redevelopment effort.

The move was primarily aimed at keeping the planned new Glenwood Springs Branch Library in the city’s downtown core, as the library district prepares to replace the old library at Ninth and Blake.

But a larger planning effort to redevelop parts of the 800 and 900 blocks of Cooper Avenue was also seen as a way to boost the vitality of historic downtown Glenwood Springs.

In April, the city purchased the private parking lot property at the southwest corner of Eighth Street and Cooper Avenue for $1.6 million to accommodate the new library.

Around the same time, CMC purchased the nearby 802 Grand Ave. building for $3.8 million, with designs on relocating its administrative offices to the new building.

As of year’s end, the college was in final preparations to vacate its longtime digs at Ninth and Grand and move into the new space.

Negotiations ensued between the four entities looking at ways to maximize the newly acquired properties, envisioning a facility that could be shared by the library and CMC, with an adjacent community plaza for outdoor events.

Despite a few stumbles along the way in the negotiations, the various entities agreed to go into partnership for the design phase this fall.

Preliminary designs unveiled in early November featured a 28,000 square-foot, two-story building, with an underground parking garage to be reserved for CMC employees during the day. The new library would take up the 14,000 square-foot main floor, while the unfinished second floor would be reserved for future CMC and library needs.

A connecting walkway would also be built between CMC’s new office building to the library building.

The city also employed the same architects, Humphries Poli Architects out of Denver, to design a two-level parking structure to be built at the site of the existing city parking lot at Ninth and Cooper.

Formal development plans are expected to be ready for the city to review soon after the first of the year, and construction could begin in the spring.

One goal is to have the new library and other downtown development projects completed before the Colorado Department of Transportation begins work to rebuild or replace the Grand Avenue Bridge. Planning for that project also began in earnest during 2011, and bridge construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2014.

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