Voters OK Glenwood Springs airport protections
Roughly 4 out of 5 ballots cast in favor of ballot question
Voters strongly supported adding language to Glenwood Springs city charter, protecting the municipal airport from significant changes without future elections.
Nearly 2,400 Glenwood Springs voters completed ballots during this special election, with roughly 81% of respondents voting yes to amending Glenwood Springs’ charter.
As the question that kicked off the special election Tuesday, the airport’s addition to the city charter makes it the first city property specifically named and protected by the document.
The question was created following a successful petition by airport supporters, who felt the airport was at risk of being redeveloped into housing or removed altogether to make way for a South Bridge, which would connect Airport Road to Colorado Highway 82.
Voters’ approval of the charter addition will not impact the city’s current plans for building a tunnel beneath the airport runway for South Bridge, according to the ballot language.
“The voters spoke overwhelmingly that they want the airport to continue to operate in its current configuration,” said Dave Merritt, a member of the city’s Airport Board. “Hopefully, this will encourage council to allow additional investments out there.”
Council Member Ingrid Wussow voiced support for keeping the airport’s current runway configuration throughout the November election and leading up to the special election.
“I think the community has spoken, and they want to have a say,” Wussow said. “And they don’t want one council at one point in time to make the final decision on an amenity the community clearly cares about.”
Mayor Jonathan Godes has previously said removing the airport runway to make way for a southern Glenwood Springs evacuation route, aka South Bridge, would be the most cost effective path forward.
“There was an election in November where 80% of the residents voted down a tax to support the airstrip,” Godes said. “Tonight, by the same margin, voters chose to amend the charter to give special protections to the landing strip above all other departments and services without a source to fund it.
“Given the amount the city’s general fund has had to spend to support the airport operations lately, I don’t know that this provides the community with any clarity other than an unfunded mandate.”
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at email@example.com.
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