City to see what $600,000 can do for Sixth Street roundabout project

The bison art found in the roundabout near the intersection of 6th Street and Laurel north of the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The $1.1 million bid for the Sixth and Laurel roundabout landscaping project was unappealling for City Council, Thursday night.

Arguably, as unappealing as the mulch, overgrown weeds and bison herd constructed from recycled wooden pallets that currently inhabits the area has been for the Sixth Street business community.

“I know it is important to the businesses along Sixth Street that something gets done over there,” Councilor Steve Davis said. “They don’t think that the pallet art is at all amusing over there and they’re over it.”

Although council did not accept Gould Construction’s $1.1 million bid — the only bid the city received for the project — it did direct staff to work with the local contractor to see what $600,000 could potentially bring to the roundabout instead.

“This is a very important project. It is the gateway to Glenwood,” Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Laura Kirk said. “It’s a sense of pride for our community and we really need to think about what that looks like.”

“I think it’s important to remember that it’s more than just a roundabout,” added Kirk.

The original design, which called for the installation of lighting, irrigation and landscaping, did not adequately take into account the cost of traffic control necessary to complete the project.

“We had $20,000 in for traffic control,” Landscape Architect Shannon Murphy said. “The bid came back, and traffic control was a lot larger than that.”

According to City Engineer Terri Partch, the traffic control cost was approximately $200,000.

“The [Downtown Development Authority], with all due respect, over-designs these projects and then expects the taxpayer to vote for them,” Councilor Tony Hershey said. “I just don’t think that this project is fiscally responsible.”

City staff will now conduct “value engineering” with Gould Construction in an attempt to bring down the project’s cost.

One cost cutting idea proposed by Councilor Rick Voorhees included the possibility of getting local service clubs involved, akin to the Kiwanis Club’s participation in Veltus Park’s construction.

“There may be some opportunities here that are cost effective for the city. We’ve got a couple of parks named for service clubs in the city as well,” Voorhees said. “Maybe a little friendly competition between them.”

Although Voorhees called his own idea a little facetious, councilors were desperate to bring down the project’s cost.

As currently envisioned, the project’s design would carry with it a $10,000 maintenance price tag annually, too.

“When you’re out there now it’s a weed patch,” Kirk said. “It doesn’t say ‘welcome to Glenwood.’ … From the DDA’s perspective we really need to do something there to create more of a welcoming statement.”

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