Ward 4: Christensen not out to make big changes | PostIndependent.com

Ward 4: Christensen not out to make big changes

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Bruce Christensen is used to handling issues that arise from nowhere. As the director of Mountain Valley Developmental Services since 1979, he has to be able to think on his feet and come up with creative solutions to issues that come up on a daily basis.

Now that he’s running for Glenwood Springs City Council, Christensen, 57, is ready to apply those skills to City Council.

“To me, the thing that makes Glenwood such a great community is that the city leaders are so accessible and responsive,” Christensen said.

Christensen has no opponents in the race. He’s set to take over Don Vanderhoof’s seat as representative of Ward 4.

“I’ve been fairly active in governmental things, so I figured I’d continue that service in another arena,” he said.

Christensen said unlike some of the candidates who entered the race at least partially to challenge some of City Council’s recent decisions, he has no such feelings.

“I don’t have any dissatisfaction with the way things are being run,” he said.

But he admitted there might be “some subtle differences as to how I see the future.”

Christensen said council will have to help strengthen other areas of the economy if the city loses its status as retail hub of the region.

“Things are decentralizing, so we need to look at diversifying,” he said. “We have to look at trying to improve the tourist experience.”

For that reason, Christensen said he strongly supports the proposed whitewater park, building a new aquatic center and improving the area’s trail systems for bicyclists, runners and pedestrians alike.

Another way to bring people to the city is to hold more sports-oriented events.

“We need to promote athletic kinds of things,” he said. “To me, that’s part of my vision, to kind of carve out our niche.”

Christensen said a good example of this is what he saw in Moab, Utah, when he recently traveled there to participate in a bicycle event.

“There were 600 people spending a couple of days who wouldn’t have been there (otherwise),” he said.

He also would like to spread the word about the city’s fiber optic system to try and attract new businesses to the area.

“We could look for some really progressive companies to relocate to Glenwood,” he said.

At the same time, Christensen said city leaders need to look at ways to support the unique local businesses in the city.

Christensen said he’s in support of using certificates of participation to fund recreational amenities in the city.

“If, in fact, in the analysis of our current budget situation, we can still pay for it out of our landfill revenues without hurting anything else, we should do it,” he said. “I believe some of the amenities will be good for everyone in the community.”

Despite his support for the funding mechanism, Christensen said he has some concerns about the proposed municipal golf course.

“This municipal golf course has come up so many times over the years. I don’t golf and I generally don’t like golf courses. But on the other side, there are people in the community who like to golf, and it’s good it’ll be built because of the exclusivity of other courses.”

His main concerns lie in the design and location of the proposed course.

“There are many people in town who are runners and who really want a soft trail. If we are going to do a golf course, we shouldn’t exclude others from using it,” he said.

Christensen said he’d also like to see a city theater built.

“I think it’s something we need to get in as soon as we can,” he said. “The performing arts people need a place.”

Christensen said he would prefer an alternative to relocating Highway 82 – such as more mass transit users and less traffic – but he fears there is no viable alternative.

“I don’t want to see houses and retail built in the median of three highways,” he said.

Rather than the “cut-and-cover” tunnel that’s been talked about during the past few years, he proposed a “cut-and-not-cover” alternative to mitigate some of the traffic noise.

“I don’t think it’s Glenwood’s obligation to have our community destroyed so we can have high-speed traffic going to Aspen.”

Mail ballots for this year’s election will be sent out on Oct. 15, and they’re due back by Nov. 4.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511


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