Local engineer joins URA to discuss future of Glenwood Springs Mall
Following the dismissal of Ross’ lawsuit against the city, Tate Fairbanks has been appointed to the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) that may convene this summer.
“[Fairbanks] having an engineering background and his local roots will be an asset to the URA,” Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes said of the appointment, which City Council ratified.
According to the appointee’s Urban Renewal Application, Fairbanks lives in Glenwood Springs and works as a civil engineer and general contractor.
Fairbanks now joins Garfield County Commissioner John Martin, Roaring Fork School District Board Member Shane Larson and the seven-member City Council leaving just one seat left to fill on the URA.
The remaining taxing districts including entities like RFTA, CMC and the Library District will designate an appointee to the last remaining seat to represent their own collective interests.
With ten of the eleven URA seats filled, the authority may assemble for the first time this summer, Glenwood Springs Assistant City Manager Jenn Ooton said Tuesday.
“In the plan that City Council adopted it could only be municipal sales tax that could be used,” Ooton explained of possible funding mechanisms. “Potentially, it hasn’t been put in place yet because the Urban Renewal Authority [and City Council] would have to move forward with that. But, the plan as written envisions that municipal sales tax could be used.”
While municipal sales tax may see utilization, according to the West Glenwood Springs Urban Renewal Authority Plan that Council adopted at its Dec. 6 meeting, “incremental property tax revenues will neither be collected nor used to further the objectives of the plan.”
The city has worked in conjunction with the owner of the two Glenwood Springs Mall properties located at 51027 Highway 6 and 24 – Frank Woods – to encourage redevelopment at the site. However, exactly what that redevelopment will look like still remains in question.
“We don’t have a vision other than unlocking the potential for that property,” Godes said of the Glenwood Springs Mall. “While some people have ideas of it being a Willits-type development, other people would just like to see the current building reinvigorated,”
According to a conditions survey prepared by Ricker Cunningham for the city, the property area was deemed blighted as 10 of the 11 eligible conditions existed. Of those 11 conditions, which included “slum,” “the existence of conditions that endanger life or property by fire or other causes” and “buildings that are unsafe or unhealthy for persons to live or work in because of building code violations…” only one factor was not found by Ricker Cunningham.
The one factor not present was “faulty lot layout in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility, or usefulness,” the report stated.
Added Godes, “Somewhere we would just like to see economic vitality and foot traffic returned to that part of West Glenwood. That area of town deserves it, needs it and it’s a benefit for the entire community when it’s active and engaged.”
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