‘The new face of Glenwood Springs’: Two Rivers Park Project begins Oct. 7
After years of planning, a contract for Glenwood Springs’ Two Rivers Park Project has been awarded, and construction will officially begin in October.
In a narrow 4-3 vote held at a special City Council meeting, councilors awarded New Castle-based Heyl Construction a $2.63-million contract to complete the work.
“I think it’s a wise use of money that the voters supported in the A&I tax,” said Councilor Charlie Willman.
The city’s A&I bonding fund will pay for the vast majority of the project, which also received a few hundred thousand dollars in grant funding.
The core elements of the project include a new boat ramp area, restrooms, shoreline restoration and river trail upgrades.
“The [current] boat ramp will be replaced with a new, three-lane boat ramp,” said Brian Smith, parks and recreation director. “It’ll be concrete at a shallower grade that will allow you to back up with good sightlines.”
The project also calls for the installation of a new restroom.
Additionally, as part of the shoreline restoration, the contractor will remove industrial debris embedded in the riverbank and complete bank stabilization with a protected beach, trees and vegetation.
“This park was built decades ago on top of that old industrial site with the plan to clean up the river bank as soon as possible. That cleanup has been delayed over and over again for several decades,” said Councilor Steve Davis, who supported the project. “Enough is enough.”
The park’s north and east trails will also get repaved with concrete and the contractor will remove the railroad bridge abutment in the Colorado River.
“There will be a nature river walk done along the riverbank there,” Smith said.
In January, the city received one bid for the project for approximately $4.68 million. After rebidding the work in July, however, the city received five bids, with the lowest one coming from Heyl Construction.
For some on council, the project’s $2 million-plus price tag was too high to support.
“My vote was a vote of conservatism,” said Mayor Jonathan Godes who did not vote in favor of the project. “It is one of our most heavily used parks, and I think it is going to be great. I just didn’t think it was great for that price tag at this point in time.”
According to a news release, all of Two Rivers Park — including its boat ramp along the Colorado River — will close beginning Oct. 7 and will remained closed at least through April 2020.
Pedestrians and cyclists will be unable to enter the park from the Rio Grande Trail pedestrian bridge and will get redirected to Sixth Street.
“The riverbank is littered with re-bar, old car bodies and industrial waste left over from an old industrial site,” Davis said. “It has been redesigned and re-engineered a number of times, working through compromises in order to achieve the greatest bang for our buck at the most highly used and highly visible park in our community and this part of Colorado.”
Nearly 300,000 residents and tourists use Two Rivers Park annually, and approximately 122,000 use its boat ramp every year, according to Smith.
“We really hope that this project will be the new face of Glenwood Springs,” Smith said. “It will provide a beautiful new front for the city.”
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.