Week in Review | PostIndependent.com

Week in Review

Before developers look at expanding Glenwood Meadows, they had better tend to problems with the existing project, Glenwood Springs City Council members told them Thursday night.Council members criticized the developers over unfulfilled promises involving landscaping, dust and light pollution, and also said a conceptual plan to add more retail to the development fails to adhere to the original vision of a mixed-use development at Glenwood Meadows.Glenwood Meadows was supposed to be “a walkable community where people would live and work,” said council member Dave Merritt.He said he’s concerned about where the hundreds of people working at Glenwood Meadows are supposed to live.Council member Dave Johnson told developers, “I would hope you could find some retailers that would be pleased with having some employee housing mixed in their buildings. I would strongly suggest that.”

In the wake of an emergency move to beef up Rifle’s wastewater treatment system, the city is now in the process of designing a $16 million to $18 million mechanical sewage plant. Growth both in population and industry in the city of 8,500 has put pressure on its utility infrastructure.Currently the city relies on two lagoons to process its wastewater, said city engineer Charlie Stevens.One lagoon serves the city south of the Colorado River and Interstate 70 and another the north side.With the passage of an emergency ordinance last week, Rifle City Council gave a green light to an $800,000 interconnector system – a bore under the Colorado River – that will connect the two lagoon systems and carry the city until the new mechanical plant is completed in 2008. Once the bore is completed, excess waste from the north lagoon will be pumped under the river to the south facility.The ordinance came in response to a notification from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) that the city’s north lagoon was operating too close to its capacity limits and was in violation of state regulations.

For a place of great natural beauty – a place that attracts people who live the healthy outdoor life – Garfield County has a dark secret. The county, indeed the entire state of Colorado, has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.According to Jackie Skramstad, program director with Colorado West Counseling Services in Glenwood Springs, Garfield County has one of the highest rates of suicide in a state that ranks seventh in the U.S. for suicides.It has long been a touchy subject, unspoken in families who have experienced death of a loved one by suicide, and a matter of shame.”Suicide is so hurtful to families,” said Garfield County Public Health Nurse Sandra Barnett. “There’s a stigma about it.” To meet the need for affordable treatment and prevention education, Skramstad and the county public health nurses have formed the Garfield County Suicide Prevention Coalition. The idea behind the coalition, which includes representatives from area law enforcement agencies, local hospitals, the judicial district and the school districts, is to get it out of the closet and into the mainstream.”We want to get people talking about it,” Skramstad said.

SILT – Tired of the jokes and jeers about “still waiting” on the Stillwater Ranch subdivision south of Silt, Mayor Dave Moore put the screws to the developers Monday night.In an emotionally charged and sometimes dramatic speech at the regular town board meeting, Moore began by scolding developers Dennis Carruth and Ed Sutton, principals of SWD LLC for a comment Sutton recently made that the town “lacked integrity,” after the town revoked the subdivision’s PUD in July.”You have the audacity to make a proclamation of this magnitude with total disregard and disrespect for some of the finest people that I have ever met,” Moore said. “I am not going to take the time to ask for an apology, and neither do we want one. A forced apology is no apology.”Moore also pointed out that it’s more than 10 years the subdivision was approved by voters and annexed into the town. Since then, there have been numerous delays, missed deadlines, changes, amendments, broken promises and agreements, thousands of dollars spent and countless hours of work on the project.”And what do we have to show for it all?” Moore asked. “Nothing.”When voters approved the 1,472-acre subdivision with 1,200 housing units back in 1996, the developers had promised numerous amenities, including one or two golf courses, trails and pedestrian paths, an equestrian center, community recreation, ball fields, a swimming pool, water and wastewater treatment systems and more.When the town revoked Stillwater’s PUD on July 10, 2006, it stipulated that if the developers wanted to move forward with the project, they would have to start from scratch, although the annexation of the property would not have to be redone.But Moore said newly proposed agreements eliminate many of the amenities and benefits to the town that were originally promised when voters approved the subdivision so many years ago. He warned that if those promises were not kept, the relationship with Stillwater would be severed.

Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen looks at the problem of traffic jams on Grand Avenue and imagines a possible solution:Build a sunken, bermed, two-lane, limited-access bypass along the old railroad corridor near the Roaring Fork River.Christensen isn’t alone. Some other council members and other city officials think the approach may be the most feasible means of getting state Highway 82 traffic off Grand Avenue and reclaiming it as a city street.The idea is gaining ground partly through a process of elimination. Another possible use of the corridor, called cut-and-cover, would involve installing a sunken bypass and then putting a roof over it, which many see as being prohibitively expensive.Another – a four-lane bypass along the corridor – is seen as politically unlikely.Christensen predicts that building “another four-lane slab or road through this town … isn’t going to happen.” But he believes a sunken, bermed bypass lined by a lot of trees “is something that people would get behind.”Currently there’s a recreation trail that runs along the rail corridor.

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