Support for water park bubbles over
The current tide of public opinion seems to favor a whitewater park where kayakers can go Eskimo rolling down the river.
Although there were some concerns aired, members of the public expressed nearly unanimous support for the construction of a whitewater park in Glenwood Springs, as long as it is done right and with an eye toward environmental issues.
At a meeting Wednesday at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, city leaders and about 40 river users gathered to share their opinions on where and how to build a park. The meeting also was used as a gauge for public opinion.
“I was encouraged. There was a good response from a lot of user groups,” Glenwood Springs community development director Andrew McGregor said.
“I think it’s a good idea in the right place,” said Jeff Dysart, owner of Roaring Fork Anglers and Alpine Anglers. “It could relieve pressure by putting them all in one spot.”
He did, however, mention the importance of being able to navigate his fishing dories down the river.
Many of those in attendance were kayakers who showed up to support the idea of creating a whitewater park.
But even with their concerns about conflicts; anglers, rafters and other river users seemed generally supportive of a park.
The decision on exactly where to locate the park hasn’t yet been made, but it would most likely either be put along the end of the Roaring Fork River from Veltus Park to Two Rivers Park, or along the Colorado River from Grand Avenue to the west end of Two Rivers Park.
Kayak parks usually are comprised of water features where kayakers can play on a wave, whoosh down a small waterfall or hit a few rapids.
“What we’re thinking about is a series of well-designed and well-placed boulder installations,” McGregor said. “Obviously we have to maintain a navigable channel.”
Other concerns included the possible disturbance of trout spawning beds, a silt buildup caused by a kayak wave that could be unhealthy for fish and whether there is enough parking to support a horde of kayakers with their accompanying cars.
On the positive side, it was pointed out that the park could generate revenue, provide entertainment for shorebound onlookers and give kids a positive activity to do in the summertime.
“What we really wanted to do here was gather up information and I think we did a good job,” McGregor said. “I think there is interest in pursuing this, and I also see there are some baseline issues everyone agrees on.”
City Councilman Rick Davis said he’s in support of the park, as well as any clean activity that could generate revenue.
“I’d like to see the economy built on something other than Wal-Marts,” he said.
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