Red Feather Ridge bird in hand worth two in bush |

Red Feather Ridge bird in hand worth two in bush

I would like to commend the individuals who participated in the debate on Red Feather Ridge. I hope that it served to inform many on the benefits of the Red Feather Ridge development to Glenwood Springs.

I would like to take this opportunity to expand on some points that were made that may help some in their decision on the ballot issue:

1. Why does Glenwood Springs need to grow?

Look around at the changing demographics. Our population is continuing to age, and we are becoming attractive to many retirees. Anyone who went to the 50s Birthday Bash at the Community Center realizes this.

Most of the people there will be retiring within the next five to 15 years, but staying on in Glenwood Springs. We are generally a healthy population and we’re living longer. However, all of these folks also fill valuable roles in the community. When they retire, where will those live who we need to replace them, if we don’t provide for more housing?

2. Will there be a “Plan C” if the vote fails?

This plan is already at least a “Plan C.” The bank has come back to the city three times, once with a plan which did not receive good comments at the conceptual plan stage in 2001, once with a plan that passed the Planning and Zoning Commission but failed at the City Council level in the summer of 2002, and finally with this plan, which passed the City Council in February of this year. It is highly unlikely that this property will be developed within the city if this vote fails.

3. The 23 affordable housing units and the three Habitat for Humanity lots would only make a dent in the affordable housing needs here.

That is true, but it is a much larger dent than has been made to date, and for the individuals who may benefit from this opportunity, it will be a very large impact.

4. This is a poor location for affordable housing, because there’s no bus service to this area.

Of course “Ride Glenwood” doesn’t go up there now. It’s not in the city and no one lives there. There wasn’t bus service to Cardiff Glen until just this year, when we had a sufficient critical mass to extend the bus line.

However, the bank is required to provide $125,000 in up-front transportation impact fees to purchase an additional bus when the city decides it is time to extend the bus line to Red Feather Ridge.

5. Residential developments don’t pay for themselves.

That is very true, because we have a tax structure that ensures that none of us pay for the services that we want and get. The city of Glenwood Springs receives only about 10 percent of its total revenues from property tax; the balance comes from sales tax, and of that, the majority is paid by residents in areas outside the city limits and by tourists visiting our area.

We are the beneficiaries of the Wal-Marts, the Book Trains, the Mall and the many motels and restaurants in the area; however, there is more to this town than shopping and eating, and we need neighborhoods and involved neighbors to sustain our community.

I urge everyone to closely consider the benefits of the Red Feather Ridge development as you cast your ballots in the next two weeks. This project will have a positive impact on the community for years to come.

Glenwood Springs City Councilman David H. Merritt represents Ward 5.

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