Public asked to weigh in on Silt ‘urban renewal’ strategy
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
SILT, Colorado – A public hearing on a proposal to designate 32 city blocks in Silt as “blighted” and in need of redevelopment, along with a $4 million request to Garfield County to get new commercial development going, is set for Monday, Jan. 23.
The “blight” declaration is part of an ambitious economic development strategy in which town leaders hope to attract new businesses, in part by creating an Urban Renewal Authority that would be able to buy, clear and build new commercial properties.
The idea, according to Mayor Dave Moore, is to generate needed sales tax revenue for the town and give Silt residents better local shopping options.
Although trustees favor the action, Moore said Monday that he’s been “hit with a barrage of complaints” from residents and property owners within the proposed Urban Renewal Authority area. Notices went out last week to property owners with holdings inside the area.
“As recently as this morning there were some citizens complaining,” Moore said Monday.
The proposed area to fall under the Urban Renewal Authority, and to therefore be designated as “blighted,” spans one block on either side of Main Street from First to 16th streets, and selected other areas in town.
Under state law, an Urban Renewal Authority can condemn property and use other powers to foster redevelopment. Some of the concerns expressed by residents and property owners stemmed from the condemnation powers, Moore said.
“This has nothing to do with condemnation or eminent domain,” the mayor insisted. “We have no intention of using the condemnation powers of the authority.”
The town has focused its attention on a former motor home assembly plant at 401 Main. The Urban Renewal Authority would demolish the building and use public funds to erect a building that could house a grocery store, a bank and a pharmacy.
Meanwhile, Moore hopes that the trustees can convince Garfield County officials to give the town a $4 million grant or loan to get the urban renewal process going.
“We’re believing there’s a significant grant they’re going to be giving us,” Moore said Monday.
The county funds would be used to set up an economic development revolving loan fund to pay for the 401 Main redevelopment and possibly other projects in the “blighted” area.
County attorney Andrew Gorgey, who is also serving as acting county manager, said Monday that the county commissioners are scheduled to attend the Jan. 23 hearing. He is writing a legal opinion, requested by the commissioners, about the Silt funding request, but declined to reveal details in advance of the meeting.
Moore said the trustees already took some steps toward establishing the Urban Renewal Authority on Jan. 9. A final decision will be made following the public hearing on Jan. 23.
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