Voters give hospital green light to close streets
In an overwhelming show of support, Glenwood Springs voters approved vacating sections of 19th Street and Palmer Avenue to make way for Valley View Hospital’s $32 million expansion and newly configured road.
A special election regarding the two city streets was held at Glenwood Springs City Hall on Tuesday. City Clerk Robin Clemons reported that out of 5,125 registered voters in Glenwood Springs, 354 voted to approve vacating a 568-foot portion of 19th Street and a 350-foot stretch of Palmer Avenue. There were 86 votes recorded against vacating 19th Street, and 85 votes against vacating Palmer Avenue.
“This community has always supported us,” said Valley View Hospital chief executive officer Gary Brewer. “In 1954, the people of Glenwood raised $350,000 to build the hospital. It’s pretty humbling to continue to receive this kind of support.”
Brewer said that hospital officials have been working on the road closures and reconfiguration for over two years.
“We were working so close to the project we hoped we weren’t missing something,” he said. “It’s rewarding to see that so many people agree with us.”
The $32 million expansion, Brewer explained, reflects the hospital growing with the valley instead of the other way around.
“We’re not trying to build beyond our needs,” Brewer said. “Rather it’s the reverse. The hospital expanded in 1962, and now, with the increased population in the area, we’re ready to grow again.”
The hospital was admonished in a letter to the editor this week for running a large number of advertisements regarding the special election. But Brewer says that was done as a service for citizens who were for or against the road vacancies.
“We didn’t want to give anyone the impression that we had slipped the road closure in through the back door,” he said. “We only spent $4,000 on the whole campaign. In a city of this size, we didn’t have the advantage of television or other means to get the word out. The newspaper ads were a good way to inform the public.”
The roads will be closed June 2003 when construction begins on the hospital’s new parking lots, emergency room, radiology department and Family Birthplace. A circular road will wrap around both Valley View Hospital and the Glenwood Medical Associates office building directly to the north.
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