No question about it: Glenwood Springs to have whitewater park

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Local government leaders plunged kayak paddles into the earth Tuesday to celebrate a project about seven years in the making: a whitewater park.The Glenwood Springs City Council awarded an $888,838 contract in November for construction of the feature just upstream of the Midland Avenue bridge in the Colorado River. A number of other groups and businesses also donated funds for the project. Preliminary work is under way, and on-site construction should start within a week or two. Work is expected to be complete by March 15 – just about time for early season use of the park. Park proponents are planning another phase with amenities along the river bank. What follows is a quick question-and-answer session with Joe Mollica, who has been instrumental in the project.

When did you get interested in locating a whitewater park here and why? 2001. Because I’ve been in rafting for quite a long time. I was a raft guide. I take my family out every year. Other parks have been built around, but I figured Glenwood Springs is the ideal spot for a whitewater park.What will the park have in terms of features? It’ll be about a 75-yard-long feature. It’ll have a high water feature, a medium water feature and a low water feature. There will also be pools.

What does it mean for Glenwood Springs? It’s huge. It means we have a new park to play in. Money for our economy from tourists. A spot for river conservation. People can learn to play safe in the river, and, eventually, guaranteed flow in the Colorado River.What does it mean for boaters? You’re going to have a whole new place to boat.How long has the effort taken? Seven years.

How many hours have you spent on this project? I don’t know.How does it feel to have the plans becoming a reality? It’s great. Finally – it’s nice.What has been the toughest thing about it? Sometimes keeping the momentum going is the hardest part.What’s harder – teaching or getting the whitewater park built? Teaching’s a lot harder, but this has been a fun deal.

Do any of your students think you’re cooler for having spearheaded a whitewater park? They’re excited to have the park. We had quite a few students on the committee from time to time.Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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