Parks and Wildlife enjoys the great indoors |

Parks and Wildlife enjoys the great indoors

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials formally celebrated the opening of the agency’s new regional service center Wednesday. They hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an open house to show off the spacious facility, where they finally have enough room to do their job.

John Singletary of Pueblo, chairman of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, congratulated the agency staff for accomplishing a goal that has been in the works for more than a decade.

The new building also stands as a symbol for the 2011 merger of the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks into a single agency, Singletary said.

“This is a real start on our new merger,” he said.

The building grand opening comes just days after the citizen commissions for the two former divisions held their first meeting as a single board, the Parks and Wildlife Commission.

The agency’s Glenwood Springs Service Center will be the Area 8 headquarters for wildlife and state parks in Eagle and Pitkin counties and in eastern Garfield County. It includes an office building and two storage and repair buildings, customer parking in front, and paved areas for trucks and trailers in the back.

It’s quite a change from the rented space the agency occupied in Glenwood Springs, where workers were jammed into a small office and customers gathered in a lobby that overflowed on license sale days.

“We’ve been searching for a place for going on 11 years,” said Perry Will, Area 8 wildlife manager. “We couldn’t be happier or more proud of this facility.”

Ron Velarde, the agency’s northwest Colorado area manager, said he set a goal of expanding the Glenwood Springs office when he first came to his job. “I didn’t realize it would take 13 years to get to this point,” he said.

The difficulty started with finding an appropriate site. Officials wanted the site to have enough room for an office, outbuildings and parking, be close to the highway and easy for people to find. It also needed to be affordable, not an easy requirement in the Aspen to Vail region.

That’s where Bill Daley, the recently retired director of the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation, entered the picture. The foundation is a nonprofit and its sole mission is to support the work of the state’s wildlife agency.

Local real estate broker Garry Buzick pitched the Canyon Creek parcel to Daley. He convinced others of the site’s potential and then arranged the purchase of the land through the foundation.

State government then spent $1.7 million to develop the site and build the facility. It’s fitted neatly onto a slice of property between I-70 and the railroad tracks, easily reached from the Canyon Creek exit from I-70. Work started in June 2011 and wrapped up in February.

The project, done by Schauer Construction Co. of Colorado Springs under the management of Mark Miller of New Castle, was finished ahead of schedule and $300,000 under budget, said Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras.

Parks and Wildlife in-house staff handled the advance work. Gene Potter, a Parks and Wildlife design engineer, handled the site design, building design and permitting, and Steve Ryan, the agency’s northwest region engineer, served as the project engineer.

Now the Area 8 Parks and Wildlife staff – eight wildlife officers, one wildlife technician, three biologists and two administrative assistants – plan to settle in and use the facility to its best advantage. They hope to increase their own work efficiency and provide better customer service while enjoying a comfortable workplace.

The facility is at 0088 Wildlife Way, Glenwood Springs, and can still be reached by calling 947-2920.

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