Paragliding approval flies through City Council
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Royal Owens and Etienne Pienaar glided through their city approval process Thursday. The Glenwood City Council gave Owens of Carbondale and Pienaar of Aspen approval to use a city road, takeoff area and landing zone for their fledgling company, Adventure Paragliding. Council approved the request by a vote of 5-2. “I think as people take tandem rides, they’ll see the excitement and sheer joy of this activity,” Glenwood Springs resident Terry Burke said to council. Mayor Larry Emery said paragliding fits in with the city’s overall plan for attracting more visitors to the city. “I think it’s just a great addition,” he said. “It’s clean industry and low-impact and exactly the type of thing we’d like to have here.”Although many spoke highly of the Adventure Paragliding proposal, not all the comments were so positive. “I’m very opposed to this,” Glenwood Springs resident France Reed said. “It may start small, but the numbers and the distraction and the impact on our town; I think the money we would get back would be a pittance.”Councilmen Dave Merritt and Joe O’Donnell both touched on what they see as a potentially negative impact. The two expressed concern over the possibility of more car accidents caused by people watching the colorful paragliders rather than watching the road. “I really question whether this is something we need,” O’Donnell said. Adventure Paragliding’s approval allows them access to the gated road leading to a private takeoff zone on Red Mountain; access to a city-owned takeoff spot on Lookout Mountain; and access to the landing zone on a parcel of city property just west of Glenwood Springs High School above the Roaring Fork River. Approval from a private landowner is still needed for the company to use the take-off zone atop Red Mountain near the lighted cross.If that approval is granted, the company could start offering flights by the end of this month. Pienaar estimated that a tandem flight – which lasts anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes – will be offered for around $140. Later on, the company will begin offering lessons for people who want to learn how to paraglide on their own. Pienaar and Owens are looking at locating Adventure Paragliding’s office at Colorado Canoe and Kayak on Grand Avenue. Councilman Bruce Christensen said he’s seen private paragliders flying above the city for years. “I’ve observed on many occasions folks coming off Lookout Mountain in the early evening, and I find it very pleasant to look up and see a couple of colorful paragliders gliding across town,” he said. In other business, City Council:• Discussed the possibility of shelving the Midland Avenue/Airport Road roundabout project. Disagreements between the city, Garfield County and the Re-1 School Board have delayed the project for a year already and they threaten to kill the project permanently.”If (the county) is not willing to participate in what I feel is a fair way, then I just think we need to move on,” Councilman Dan Richardson said. Alternative options for the intersection are to do nothing or make it a three-way stop intersection. “For the short term, I don’t believe we need to do anything with that intersection,” city engineer Larry Thompson said. Council plans to discuss the topic more fully June 17.Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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